By Godwin Oritse
THE Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents has threatened to divert all Nigerian bound oil and gas cargoes to ports of neighbouring countries if the Federal Government does not reverse its decision directing cargoes to Intels’ terminal in Onne, River state.
The Association of Nigerians Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), which decried government’s moves to grant such monopoly, has said that it would instruct its members and principals who handle oil and gas cargoes to henceforth, direct their vessels to port of neigbhouring countries and use trucks to moves such cargoes into Nigeria. Speaking on the development, National President of the association, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, said “What they (FG) have done is very irresponsible.
“What they are doing is creating a monopoly that is anti-people, and not in the interest of the economy. “Everybody should have a choice of where they want to take their cargoes to. “The government concessioned the ports, all of them (concessionaires) signed the same documents. “Why do you have to force people to take their cargo to Intels…so that they can charge them in dollars, and not only that, their charges are 300 times more than regular charges in other ports.”
According to the association’s leader, “We have started our campaign also to call for the boycott of all Intels’ ports facilities. In addition, we are prepared to take our oil and gas goods through Cotonou. If that discrimination is going to happen, then we go through the border. “It is very unfortunate because Intels have been a problem and it is like a country, a sovereign of its own. That is because the promoters are holding the jugular of the government and Nigerians. It is very unfortunate”, he said.
Prince Shittu who also took a swipe at the out-going government of President Goodluck Jonathan for embarking on some recent controversial appointments, which he described as deliberate plots to create problems for its successor. “Like many things the out-going government is doing now, I think they are just out to create problems for the new administration. We should be talking about the in-coming government, not the out-going one that is just creating booby-traps all over the place for its successor,” he said.
The ANLCA leader however opined that such “booby-traps can be dismantled by the in-coming government if they can put their ass together. “While tackling the issue of the economy, he (in-coming President Muhammadu Buhari) should also be looking into the Maritime Industry. The maritime industry is a very viable avenue for government to meet its revenue needs. If we can raise up to N7 trillion naira annually from the industry, and our current budget is N4-5 trillion, then we should be able to break-even.