The National President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the umbrella body of customs agents in the country, Iju Tony Nwabunike, has called on the federal government to expedite action in preparing the country for African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Nwabunike, made this call while speaking at a conference on ‘Maximising the Benefits of AfCFTA’ held in Lagos.
He decried the poor production and export capacity of the country, adding that Nigeria was not fully ready for the recently signed AfCFTA.
The ANLCA boss said there was urgent need to address issues of corruption and insecurity, which according to him could inhibit the flow and growth of business activities within the country and in the continent.
Nwabunike, said aside from oil, the country has not shown enough capacity and comparative advantage to produce things for export to other African countries.
He said other African countries were moving at a faster pace in building their local economies by encouraging greater production, expanding chances for their local manufacturers and promoting entrepreneurship.
“The agreement will benefit countries that are producing more than countries whose factories are either struggling to survive and have little or nothing to export. For now, apart from oil, what do we have to give other African countries? There is urgent need to get our agricultural and manufacturing sectors running better than they are doing now.
“I have been to Niger, Ghana, Cameroun and many other African countries in recent times and I can tell you that we are behind them in terms of preparation for a robust participation in intra African trade, “Nwabunike said.
In a paper presentation, the Chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Abubakar Tsanni, said his council would move to collapse barriers stopping Nigerian customs brokers and freight forwarders from practicing in other countries.
Tsanni, also called for greater attitudinal change and deployment of good vehicles on roads to support logistics and supplies for freight forwarders in the country as a way to conform with trading community expectations.
In his paper titled, “Corporate Attitudinal Adjustment,” he said there were identified areas freight forwarders and customs brokers involved in freight forwarding should adjust to.
“Looking for funds to clear consignments after they arrive our ports increases risks of port congestion and cost of demurrage. We must, as a matter of professional intervention, advice importers to be prepared for cost of clearing shortly after initiating process of importation
“In this new regime, we at CRFFN wish to reiterate need for honesty and transparency as a way of achieving better trade facilitation, ease of doing business and promotion of global best practices in our area of professionalism. Our mobile infrastructures like trucks and tanker vehicles should be in order if we don’t want foreigners to overrun us with better vehicles, “he stated.