As the current Governing Council members of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) clocks one year in office tomorrow, the Chairman of the Council, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni has said that the Council has achieved a lot within the short period it has been in office.
Tsanni who disclosed this at the roundtable organized by the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) on Tuesday recalled that for six years after the expiration of the tenure of the second Governing Council, there was no Council in place thereby creating a lot of challenges for the industry.
He noted that on inauguration of the current Governing Council one year ago by the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, expectations were high that the Council would tackle this problem to ensure that Nigeria align to global best practices and industry standard as well as ensure effective contribution to the maritime sector of the economy.
The Chairman added that in their effort to address the problems of the Council within the period under review, the Governing Council aggressively moved on and were able to achieve the following milestones; engagement of a new Registrar, re-organizing the management of CRFFN and moving them to Lagos, establishment of standing committees, successfully hosting of the Governing Council and Management Retreat, Gazetting of the Practitioners’ Operating Fee (POF) and engaging consultants for efficient and effective revenue generation.
Others according to him include; interfacing with MDAs under the Federal Ministry of Transportation such as NPA, Shippers’ Council, NIMASA, Customs among others, meeting with stakeholders in the maritime industry with the consultative committee of the Council, completed accreditation of some Nigerian University for the training of freight forwarders such as Lagos, Sokoto, Nsukka and Makurdi Universities, developing and designing of the corporate headquarters of CRFFN in Abuja, developed a roadmap towards repositioning of CRFFN with global best practices, complete integration process in NPA platform for effective revenue drive.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is some part of our achievements for the good one year that we have served in the Governing Council”, he said.
On his part, the Vice Chairman of the Council, Chief Henry Njoku observed that shortly after their inauguration one year ago, they noticed that shipping companies and terminal operators were doing some other activities that were hindering free flow of trade at Port-Harcourt.
According to him, “The Council has taken up positions in terms of, for instance, I give you one in Port-Harcourt, WACT was given seven days because we had issues where agents will ask for positioning of their containers and then they will give you three days to position that container which means the agent will have to pay to the WACT and still pay to shipping company. Our position in such move is that WACT will take responsibility of such delay because the agents cannot be paying due to inefficiency.
“We have issue where people will have to locate their containers; it takes two to three days for them to locate that container. We insisted that the terminal operator should be held responsible for that. We have issue where agents or customers are charged 1.5 percent which ordinarily, WACT is supposed to pay to Intel or pay to Free Zone Authority but they transferred the charge to the customers and we are insisting that they should refund back to the clients, all those money collected because the government regulation was very clear about it.
“Beside what we have said now, there are lots of things we are doing and we have a roadmap of what we need to do in the next one year. We already articulated them and we have freight forwarders’ Consultative forum which comprises all the association, they are well represented. Among them, we have created work group and then assigned them roles to play. So, when they come up with what they want the Council to do, it will be submitted to the Council for approval. So, we are working with everything now in order to see that we move the Council forward.
“So, what I will say is that these are the few things the Chairman has just mentioned here but there are a lot we are doing which you may not notice. Today, they are having stakeholders’ forum somewhere in Lagos here, we are moving round to see that we will excel and do better things about CRFFN.”
While pointing out that getting the job done was not easy, he recalled that the Council was without any Council member for quite some time adding that all those periods that they were not working with any Council member; things were not moving the way it was supposed to move.
“So, coming in, we saw catalogue of problems and we have been facing them one by one. So, I just want you to explain to you that we are picking up one by one and we are ready to cooperate with you and work with you”, he added.
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That is great indeed. It is indeed agreat milestone considering the long neglect of the council without governing board. Best wishes