By Roland Ekama
The National Association Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has tasked management of the Council For The Regulation of Freight Forwarding In Nigeria (CRFFN) to work round the clock in furtherance to fulfil its core mandates for the betterment of freight forwarding practice in Nigeria.
The association also expressed concerns over the roles and interventions of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council on issues bothering on freight forwarding practices and disputes with customs and terminal operators.
Deputy National President of NAGAFF, Seaport, Mr Adam Chukwuma made this known recently , during a working visit by the Ag. Registrar/ CEO CRFFN, Dr Chinyere Uromta in Lagos.
Chukwuma said “It appears the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is fast filling in for the CRFFN by taking over some of their responsibilities to freight forwarders as CRFFN is lagging behind.”
He tasked the Council to do more, if they must achieve their mandate. He also advised the Council to collaborate widely even with other government Agencies in the port to ensure a near seamless operation geared towards achieving its core mandate.
On his part Deputy National President NAGAFF, Mr Simeon Nwonu , while welcoming the guests, urged the Council to protect professional freight forwarders noting that mediocrity must not be encouraged in freight forwarding practice in Nigeria.
He said that the visit was far behind time but still consistent in relationship with the CRFFN and with support to the Council.
He opined that the visit will give members the ample opportunity to express their expectations of the CRFFN and also help prod the Council to the right part, in achieving their mandate which will not give room for mediocrity.
Speaking also, the Executive National Secretary, NAGAFF Mr Igwe Kingsley questioned the rational of centralizing the training institute for practitioners (NIFF)in Abuja while these freight forwarders reside and practice in majorly in Lagos and Port Harcourt. He also advised that CRFFN organise free professional training for Freight Forwarders to bring them closer to the Council as he noted that there is a big gap between CRFFN and practitioners.
Earlier, the Ag. Registrar, CRFFN Dr Chinyere Uromta promised that the Council will soon resume the payment of Declarant Fee which was stalled due to noticeable account discrepancies sent in by practitioners and other sundry reasons.
Uromta disclosed that the Council has reached out to these people, companies and Associations for rectification and this is bearing fruit with 58 accounts fully resubmitted to the CRFFN.
Mrs Uromta admitted that there are outstanding payments which was due to account discrepancies from the various Associations and corporate and individual members, according to her, “the Leadership of CRFFN is aware that we have huge outstanding remittance of this fee. The reasons were partly due to wrong account numbers submitted initially and some other challenges beyond our immediate control. We would like to assure you that efforts are in place to commence payment of all outstanding and ensure, going forward, payment of this ‘gazetted’ fee, as and when due. Kindly bear with us,” she pleaded.
Mrs Uromta said the Council under her watch would ensure that there’s constant collaboration with stakeholders to close ranks paving way for the Council to achieve its core mandate as stipulated in the CRFFN Act.
Speaking further, she said NAGAFF has been in close collaboration with Council since inception and has been conspicuously supportive of it through participation in all CRFFN activities, payment of practitioners operating fee, (POF) and organizing members to register with the Council.
In her words,“I like to start by appreciating this professional group for your support and cooperation since Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) came to be and especially since I took over in acting capacity, the leadership of CRFFN.
” I appreciate your support in all aspects of our operations, especially as regards membership registration and collection of Practitioners operating fee (POF), Your Association is undoubtedly a strong pillar of support for the economy in general and the Marine sector and CRFFN in particular.
The current administration under the leadership of Senator Bola Tinubu is aware of the importance of this sector to the economy and national building and invariably understand how core freight forwarders are to the national growth, hence the creation of a full fledge ministry of Marine and Blue Economy. We must therefore plug in to the opportunity For visibility and relevance by ensuring we cooperate and collaborate totally with activities of the government to make sure we are part of actualization of Renewed Hope mandate.”
On Professional Development and Capacity Building, the Registrar said the crux of today’s engagement was to let NAGAFF members understand that the Association cannot be neglected as the Council ensuring that members are trained to keep abreast with ever evolving profesion of Freight Forwarding.
“I wish to recall that the core mandate of the Council is to professionalize the freight forwarding sector by developing standards, providing education and training programmes for freight forwarders.
” In 2020, the Council for the first time determined the minimum qualification required to practice freight forwarding in Nigeria which is the FIATA Diploma in Freight Forwarding and Supply Chain Management or its equivalent. These programmes qualifies you to practice freight forwarding in Nigeria.
” We equally have the Executive Professional Diploma (EPD) programme which serves as an executive pathway for Certificate of Experience as provided in the CRFFN Act. The main purpose of the programme is to validate the experience and update the knowledge of Executive Officers in the freight forwarding sector through an intensive one week residential programme.
The University of Lagos, (UNILAG) and some other institutions of higher learning in Nigeria have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Council to deliver training programmes which cuts across Freight Forwarding, Logistics and Supply chain management. I am highly optimistic that these trainings, if well harnessed will contribute tremendously to the growth of your Association and the economy at large. We hope members will continuously take advantage of these programmes and build professional capacities.”
She also disclosed that efforts are in place to ensure speedy completion and delivery The National Institute of Freight Forwarders (NIFF) building in Abuja which will further strengthen and enhance freight forwarders professional development and capacity building
Going forward, she appealed to NAGAFF to help in the area of registration of more members.
Her words, “I will like to seize this opportunity to implore the leadership of NAGAFF to further assist in registration of more members with the Council and further collaborate with us on POF payment as the proceed from the later will serve as a return on investment and will be well utilized for the purpose of continuous trainings for freight forwarders.”
Mrs Uromta called on NAGAFF members to join hands with CRFFN to elevate the standards of freight forwarding in Nigeria, thereby contributing to a robust and seamlessly connected global supply chain network.
The Ag. Registrar assured that the Council will continue to facilitate and promote capacity-building training and other responsibilities to enhance the different aspects of the freight forwarding sector and practice in Nigeria. However, she emphasized that this will be tough call as CRFFN is now self funding with a deduction of 50 percent consolidated revenue remittance to the Federal government.