Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Shipping Agencies Limited (Conship) – an indigenous freight forwarding, oil and gas services and ship agency – MacDonald Vasnani is making a strong case for government to reserve the freight forwarding and clearing business solely for locals.
According to Mr. Vasnani, local companies have the capacity to deliver just as their foreign counterparts, hence it is about time government protected their interests as is done in Nigeria.
“Whatever the multinationals can do, we the locals have built capacity and we can do better. I believe it is about time government stood up to protect local industries like ourselves, and tried to shy away from the multinationals.
“We need to understand that whatever they do, they will take the money away. Next door in Nigeria, multinational companies are not allowed to do clearing and forwarding. It is impossible, you don’t do it; but here we have allowed it. There should be a policy that protects indigenous companies. I can only appeal for government to work through it,” he said.
According to him, the sector by dint of hard work has produced enough locals who built their companies with little or no state support – and it is time for some protection to help the creation of more local giants in the industry.
“We have more than the capacity to handle freight forwarding and clearing business locally. Let me give you names. We have companies like Conship, Baj Ship, All Freight, McDan, Jonmoore etc. Look at all these are indigenous companies; what assets don’t we have, what capacities have we not built to be able to do the job?” Mr. Vasnani asked.
He added that locals are invariably paying more taxes to the state, and if the call to reserve freight forwarding and clearing is heeded it will lead to more domestic revenue to government and a stable currency.
“Comparatively, we give government more revenue. Some of us are paying six-digit figures for taxes. The local companies are really doing a great job in this sector. Let me reiterate that when it comes to clearing and forwarding, it should be reserved for indigenous companies completely.
“Government will gain foreign exchange because whatever revenue all these companies (foreign) do, they remit. For us, whatever we get remains here. We don’t spend dollars here, so if our receivables are in US$ we convert it to cedis and spend it here. That is a huge thing,” he said.