The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has given reasons why it is yet to publish the list of registered freight forwarders in Nigeria.
Recall that CRFFN had earlier last month published the first enforcement notice where it directed freight forwarders who are yet to register with the Council to do so or risk being sent out of the profession. The notice also asked registered members to update their records with the Council or risk being delisted from the register.
However, weeks after the expiration of the deadline, the Council is yet to initiate any action in this regard.
Speaking on the development in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos on Monday, the Registrar of CRFFN, Barr. Samuel Nwakohu stated that the management decided to give the freight forwarders a period of grace to further register and update their records with the Council.
Nwakohu posited that when they decided to publish the names of people who were register as freight forwarders, they were acting in line with the position of the law adding that they noticed that registration was very low, so they decided to give the freight forwarders the opportunity to go and register and for those who had registered to update their membership.
According to him, “We gave a deadline, the deadline has expired, we have been extremely busy and we also felt that we live in Nigeria not in England or wherever, let us give a period of grace. We didn’t have to publish that, in as much as we have given a deadline before, if you pay today, we will still carry your name but be rest assured that that publication will come up any moment from now. It will come up because the law requires us to make such publications.
“The first advert was a notice on what we intend to do and encouraging them to please go and register and update their registration. People have updated, there is a surge, a lot of people have registered, up until this morning, a lot of people are still registering.”
While restating that CRFFN is a regulatory agency, he added that it must be seen to be compliant to regulations.
On threat by some individuals to institute a legal action against the Council should it go ahead to publish the names, he said, “The Act says we should publish from time to time not just registered freight forwarders but also the accredited institutions that will train. We have done that according to the Act, this is the first one we are publishing. So, anyone who wants to challenge it is free to challenge but we have not acted ultra vires.
“Another one is that there is no exemption unless someone doesn’t want to be subject to regulation. The regulation is not the making of any of the government officials, it is the law, so there are other agencies that if you don’t meet up with the requirements, you won’t practice. You must register to practice. I am happy to say that the Chairman himself updated his records; the Vice Chairman has also updated his own records, all key players who want to continue in the business, they have updated their records. People like Shittu, the former President of ANLCA has updated, the Vice President of ANLCA, Farinto has updated. People know that it is a normal thing. So, if the regulators themselves submit themselves to the regulation, anybody who wants to go to court just wants to do exercise and it is a good exercise.”
On the submission of a former Chairman of the CRFFN Governing Council, Aare Hakeem Olanrewaju who flared the Council for issuing the first enforcement notice to publish names of registered freight forwarders when practitioners actually expect to see timetable for governing council election, the Registrar said, “this is not a political party where you place premium on election. The Council was set up to set standard and to educate, train and control and a former Governing Council Chairman felt that that one is not a priority, that what is priority is election; don’t you think it is a misnomer? And that man has been trained, so, if you place it and bring all those who are not trained who are clamouring to be trained now with this advice, they will say this man is wicked, he has received all the training, he doesn’t want us to receive. That is our main job, our main job is not election.
“So, if he says that instead of publishing election timetable, we are publishing education and welfare, it means they have turned this place to a political party. Election is by the way, the governing council is just two years; our focus is on the freight forwarding industry. How much education do they have? How are they ready? You know this Covid changed a lot of things, many stay at home to do their work because they are digitally informed. We started using Webinar to train and we have seen gaps, if you are a former governing council chair and you said that, it means that you are suggesting to people that you don’t know much about the industry, you are just interested in becoming the man at the top.
“For him to relegate training and registration, now, let me tell you one thing that is very critical. Security and safety have become a very big issue in freight forwarding and if you do not know who is who, at least by registration, you have compromised that. We have seen Tramadol, we have seen all sorts of things come into the ports, even in this Covid era. So, we say, we suspect that many of them are not real freight forwarders and registered. So, we say, let’s do something to know who is who in this industry and somebody is saying he’s not supporting it; we have the right to suspect that that person is a suspect in those criminal importations. He should allow us to do what we think is critical.”
Photo: The Registrar, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN),Barr. Samuel Nwakohu.
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