By DAPO OLAWUNI
Newly elected National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Emenike Nwokeoji has assured that the National Executive Committee (NECOM) has started taking stock of all challenges confronting members of the association at various chapter levels.
In an exclusive interview with DAILY TREND last week Friday, Emenike assured that one of the cries of Licensed Customs Agents is the 15% NAC Levy imposed on imported vehicles, assuring that his administration would look into addressing it with Customs.
Emenike however assured that in their engagement with the Customs, the ANLCA NECOM is not interested in washing its dirty linen in public.
See full interview below::::
Congratulations once again on your election victory. Sir, now that you are ANLCA President, what strategy have you adopted in bringing all hands on deck?
We need to reassure the people that election and campaigning is over, now we are into full restoration of all that we have lost, and part of it is to give our members that sense of belonging. We have been visiting people and interacting with them, we need to know where people’s interests are and how we can put round pegs in round hole. From Monday next, we are embarking on courtesy visits, we are sending out letters to relevant agencies of the government that we do business with, all these were stalled because we needed to get recognition from the key arm of government that licensed us which is the Nigerian Customs, now that we have held that meeting with Customs, we are set and we are hitting the ground running.
During your visit to the Customs CG, you said you don’t want to wash your dirty linen in public with Customs, in your collaboration with Customs, what approach are you adopting?
If you noticed what happened at the meeting with the CGC two days ago, it was purely an introduction, a committee was setup to achieve peace in ANLCA and they went to report back to the Comptroller-General that they have been able to bring the factions together, and the evidence is these group of men and women that they came with, that was were the meeting started and ended. My request to the CGC to give us officers that we can always relate with, was premised on the fact that, the CGC will always be on the road and busy, after the meeting with us, he was in Kano, from there he came to Lagos, so, he has been on the road. Knowing how busy his schedule is, we made that demand in good faith, that some members of his management team should be appointed to work with us when he is not available, so that they can react to any issue that might arise before it would start filtering to the public. In our relations with the Customs, once in a while, there might be some misunderstanding, it could just be an ordinary tariff interpretation, and we needed somebody to intervene. So this demand is to ensure our operational challenges, which are bound to happen on this job are solved in time.
What is the first challenge you intend to tackle for your members
The NAC levy issue is the first, we are giving it our all because we know that the public transportation system in this country is not what it should be, when you go for an occasion, you would see so many cars parked outside, but when you enter into the hall, you would see very few people, this is because each of the came with cars. But if it were to be a place where public transportation was working fine, you don’t necessarily need to drive everywhere, you can join the public transport and save yourself that problem.
Our different chapters have their peculiar challenges, we need to harness and warehouse all the challenges, a memo is going out this morning to all the chapters, at least each chapter should give us three pressing issues that is beyond the chapter, not all challenges are meant for the National, when we look at it, we know the challenges that is beyond the chapters and we know the ones we would push back to the Chairmen, even the Zonal Coordinators, there are ones we would give to them to go and solve and report back to the National so that all arms would be effective.
Now that you are here, when are we having your inauguration into office? Should we expect a party?
I know where you are coming from, you people like party (laughs)
We don’t have money for party now, however, a committee is working underground to put that together, by the time they have made progress, we would tell people the venue and date for the inauguration.
Any final words to your members?
My final word is to appeal to them, we know that a lot has gone wrong in the past five to six years, we need time to fix them, let our members be patient with us, we are going to attend to every issue within our capacity, and before long, they would see things working better for all of us, so that when you generate a job, you would be able to put food on the table and you would be happy that you are doing the job, not when you generate a job, you would start looking for how to come out of problems. Thank God that the authorities are eager to see us work and synergize so that there would be trade facilitation and it would rub-off on all of us. Our members should have patience with us, we appreciate all what they are going through.