The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has called on all political parties featuring Candidates in the forthcoming general elections especially the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) to reach out to its headquarters so as to discuss freight forwarders’ interests as well as that of their principals.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of NAGAFF, Mazi Chidiebere Enelamah in a press release issued in Lagos on Tuesday stated that this was imperative because the freight forwarders were strategically positioned at the gateways of the nation’s economy with over ten million followers in Nigeria.
Enelamah disclosed that with regards to the on-going electioneering campaigns that NAGAFF as the umbrella body of freight agents in Nigeria was studying the situation especially the manifestoes of the various political parties presenting candidates for the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.
According to him,” we want to remind members that politics is about the interest of the greater majority and good governance. For example, our experiences in the excessive port charges and illegal arrests of containers along the city roads by the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) leave much to be desired as far as benefits of democracy to Nigerians especially freight forwarders are concerned”.
“Others shall include the undue interference over the realization of objectives of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) by the Transport Ministry and stoppage of containers by the agents of government unduly at the various shipping companies. The issue of extortion of members by the agents of the government is the greatest problem in our profession”.
“And for the avoidance of doubt, the freight agents are the coordinating agents of all the importers and exporters in Nigeria. We also interface with manufacturers, shipping companies, terminal operators, banks, insurance, haulage group, government agencies, Customs brokers, packaging industries and other critical stakeholders along the supply chain management and delivery of cargo to the owners’ warehouses”.
“NAGAFF shall in due course give direction as to where our votes should go”., he added.
The NAGAFF BoT Chairman however posited that the position of the association should vary from Federal to State elections depending on its negotiation with the main actors vying for elective positions.
“We must negotiate practitioners’ interest because our suffering is getting out of hand in the Nigerian ports and border entry points. Our clients are constantly losing professional confidence in us as if we are not practitioners of honour and integrity”.
“As stated earlier, we are watching the happenings in the political terrain and shall in due course give direction where our votes would go before the 25th of March, 2015”. However for now, we urge freight forwarders to remain neutral and not waste their time at campaign grounds because our votes must be in bulk for our chosen candidates at all level in the elections”, he stated.
While advising freight forwarders to endeavor to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) to enable them vote in the coming elections, he however called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make the process of distributing the PVCs seamless and smooth to ensure that majority of Nigerians collect their cards before the March 8, 2015 deadline so as not disenfranchise eligible voters.