By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi
THE leadership of the Association of Nigerian licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, has debunked rumours of planned industrial action by some aggrieved licensed Custom agents over some unwholesome practices by shipping companies and terminal operators in Nigeria.
In a statement to members of the association, its President, Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike said that he has been inundated with calls from both security agencies and Federal ministries over plans by some agents to go on strike.
Assuring members of the association that these service providers adhere to international best practices, Nwabunike said that the group was currently engaging the relevant authorities and stakeholders to ensure agents and their importers were not in any way short changed.
He said: “I have received numerous calls from government and security agencies in Abuja over a planned strike by licensed Customs agents.
“Whereas we at the national Headquarters have not planned or supported any plan to withdraw services (strike) from the ports, it has become imperative to advise all zonal officers and Chapter chairmen not to be part of any strike action.
“We are not unaware of the various complaints of our members regarding shipping charges and terminal operators’ attitude towards our transactions.
“We at the National Headquarters of ANLCA shall continue to engage the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and other private stakeholders in finding solutions to the lingering issues.
“We are aware that non-compliance with government directives by shipping companies and terminal operators is tantamount to act of sabotage and we have since made it known to the Federal government through the relevant agencies, i e NPA, NSC, and the Council for the Regulation Freight Forwarding of Nigeria, CRFFN.
“As you may be aware, this is a critical and challenging period in national economic life. With the bleak uncertainty in the global oil price, we are of the view that the port activities must not be disrupted not even by gentlemen and ladies of our noble association, ANLCA.
“Let me make it clear that directives must be obeyed to the letter, while advising all members to embrace laid down protocols of sending all disputed invoices and payments through the zonal secretariat.”