A former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Adebayo Sarumi has called on the freight forwarding practitioners in Nigeria to set aside their selfishness and allow the Act establishing the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to work in order for them to advance their profession.
Sarumi who made this appeal in his remark at an event to mark the Prince Olayiwola Shittu Colloquium @ 68 held recently in Lagos stated that it was in their bid to change the ugly perception about the freight forwarding profession in the country that they came up with the idea of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria bill which later became an Act of the National Assembly which they (freight forwarders) were having today as their guide post but which unfortunately had not been performing as expected.
Sarumi who is also a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) argued that if they should allow that Act to work, they would have been on the way to having the necessary recognition that they needed to have as they were an important arm of the shipping business even as he added that there was no gainsaying the fact that the freight forwarders play an extremely prominent role in the line of shipping into and out of this country and anywhere in the world.
According to him,” If I might ask, how many of us here have professional degrees and profession qualification in supply chain and logistics management? Only few people. Not that I expect you to go back to school, of course, I can’t go back to school again particularly those of you nearing my age but at least you can have young men and women that you could easily sent out to go and qualify and come back and work for you in that position.
“Then, one other thing that has continued to make me extremely unhappy with this practice is this issue of extreme unionism which is coming from personality clash and rivalry. It is still there till tomorrow, NAGAFF on one side, National Council of Managing Directors on the other side, ANLCA on the other side. In those days when we were trying to put the whole process together, we had to fight, if Aniebonam is going through the door on the right, then Lucky Amiwero is coming through the door on the left and Alhaji Kamba is going out from the front door and we never got anything right.
“And when we put together that Act, we thought for the first time in the history of this country, I say it with all boldness, ladies and gentlemen, you might contradict me if you have something to the contrary, that it was inside Shippers’ Council that the idea of the Council for the Freight Forwarding in Nigeria came to being the very first time it will be in the entire annals of Nigerian statutory approaches to practice regulation.
“So, I have only one message for you today, let that Act work, tell your leaders wherever they may be, that they should please try, for the sake of posterity in this country, drop their egotism, egocentricism, their clannishness, their selfishness in the best interest of shipping practice in Nigeria and let that Act work. If the Act works, we would have been on the way to implementing everything that Hassan told you this morning and if it works out that way, then, all the losses, the big businesses are not giving you their cargo to clear, all that you are doing is that you are clearing the cargo of one or two containers of Alaba traders who want to smuggle in goods, that is what you are struggling about. But the major consignments into this country, your members are not the ones that are handling them.
“How many of you have handled project cargoes for major projects that are going on in Nigeria? It is on record that several millions of tonnes of consignments enter Nigeria as project cargo for project development in Nigeria; they don’t call on your members within this environment to do it. The ship owner knows who he calls on, he calls on his foreign partner to come and do the clearing of the project and that is lost out to you altogether. It is to indigenize that we came up with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria by way of raising the standards. If that one works, we would have been on the way to where we need to go”.
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