By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has urged the Federal Government to stop importation of refined petroleum products and make efforts to refine crude oil locally, this would ensure the economy of the country thrives post COVID-19
The association advised that Nigeria must develop its non oil exports in order to keep jobs up.
Meanwhile ANLCA assured that there is no job loss in the maritime sector after COVID-19, it says the industry holds potentials to serve as the country’s low hanging fruits for economic growth, stability and survival.
In a statement signed by ANLCA National President, Tony Iju Nwabunike, the association also advised the government to focus on the maritime sector to harness its untapped potentials, so as to rebuilding the dwindling financial resources of the nation.
According to the association “Urgent steps must be taken to refine crude oil locally and stop the importation of refined petroleum products. A good amount of what should have been earnings for the country from the sales of crude oil has gone into payment for subsidies on imported products”
“It doesn’t make logical and economic sense for Nigeria to be buying what she has from outside simply because she failed to process her crude, could not fix her refineries and suffering shifted deadlines in commencement of operations of expected private refineries”
“That we have cotton but still depend on other countries to produce our clothing needs is a result of fall in the local textile industry. The industry is dying partly due to lack of power as it was discovered that it is cheaper to manufacture textiles outside Nigeria than doing it in the country”
“Our textile industry alone can produce jobs running into millions for a 200m population and exporting to other countries.Rice self sufficiency is still a struggle even after its removal from forex and ban from importation through land borders”
ANLCA also advised government agencies in the maritime sector to avoid unnecessary outings after COVID-19 in order to save scarce resources.
The association observed that a lot of government funds have gone into wasteful and unnecessary spending on foreign trips, bogus seminars and conferences in costly hotels and many other avoidable expenses.
It says that cutting off such expenses will not only save cost for government but will help to get attention to relevant areas.
“Agencies of government in the maritime sector are culpable in this regard with most of the conferences being mere talk shops, getting monotonous and repeating the same things over and over again without taking concrete actions to quickly improve the sector”
“There is need for Private Investment in rail coaches : Whereas the railway is government owned, there is the need to allow private investment in ownership of coaches to move cargoes from dry ports to the seaports and vice versa. This mode of transport if encouraged and open for the private sector, will bring about cheaper and safer mode of cargo movement within the country”