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Nwabunike urges Customs agents, others to strengthen eastern ports

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The National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Iju Tony Nwabunike, has urged Customs agents and freight forwarders operating at the Eastern Ports to enhance their capacities to handle higher volume of cargoes and take advantage of their proximity to Central African countries under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The ANLCA president, who made the call during the election of executives into the Eastern Zone Chapters of the association on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said eastern ports could take higher volume of trade and generate more than 20,000 direct and indirect jobs in the South-South and South-East regions of the country if properly utilised.

Nwabunike cited Onne Port as having the terminal with the highest capacity of the cargo handling machines in country at the West African Container Terminal (WACT), valued at $2.5 million.

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“It has become imperative that you get ready to trade with these countries taking advantage of the window of opportunities to be provided by AfCFTA. Let’s look beyond handling import cargoes alone because Nigeria will be eyeing exports of agricultural produce to some of these countries too.

“We, as Customs brokers, have roles to play in deepening intra-African trade and ensuring seamless cargo movement within and outside our continent. Therefore, I urge you all to approach this emerging basket of opportunities with optimism and positive minds towards making the best of them,” he said.

He, therefore, urged them to ensure total compliance and sincerity with importers in all their dealings, as well as promote international best practice and avoid anything unlawful that can give the country a bad name.

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