… Disagrees with group on withdrawal of service
The Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria, APFFLON has joined the Concerned Nigerian Registered Freight Forwarders-CNRFF to urge the Nigeria Customs Service and other agencies of government to urgently address the lingering managerial and operational issues in the port industry.
APFFLON, in a statement signed by its National President, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite in Lagos on Wednesday posited that it could not feign ignorance of the present plight of freight forwarders and the show of gross display of insensitivity by concerned authorities adding that it had been an era of helplessness as those expected to raise voices in their defense were the ones shouting them down for selfish interests.
Ogunojemite observed that APFFLON as an advocacy group, would never support any ploy targeted at emasculating the welfare of freight forwarders or actions millitating against the policy of Ease of Doing Business (EoDB).
According to him, “We are not unaware of myriad of operational challenges currently being faced by freight forwarders which include issues of multiple alerts on single declaration, skyrocketed CIF, frustration of freight forwarders by Taskforces – FOU, Enforcement and Valuation Units, shipping companies’ high-handedness especially forceful collection of 10 to 14 days upfront charges and additional demurrage demand after the expiration of initial rating on containerized goods, delays in refund of container deposits, high level of impunity by terminal operators despite non availability of standard equipment, police harassment and interception of exited containers and vehicles as well as regular attacks on freight forwarders by Area Boys etc.
“APFFLON, as a group supports the position of Concerned Nigerian Freight Forwarders, CNRFF demanding that Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN should rise to the occasion. APFFLON, hereby strongly lend its voice to say enough is enough!”
On the the issue of alleged misappropriation of fund by the management of CRFFN, the APFFLON boss insisted that it must be urgently addressed as allegations of such magnitude cannot be swept under the carpet.
“We demand transparent stewardship and will not be part of the ploy by any group or representative of government to ditch sensitive allegations against the management of CRFFN or other agencies of government in the maritime sector.
“Recall that in May this year, the House Committee on Customs and Excise led by the Committee Chairman, Hon. Leke Babajide, in a tour of Customs commands and all ports to carry out investigation on transparency and how to improve ports operations, insisted that the House would in the cause of the oversight function and on-the-spot assessment ascertain the status of scanners and why despite the massive investment for their acquisition and prior modernization of its operation, the service, yet again, failed to achieve modernization objectives.
“APFFLON was one of the groups that commended the Committee for condemning the resort to physical inspection of cargoes which is grossly time consuming, ineffective and laced with corruption. The Chairman during the tour, noted that manual cargo inspection also contributes to delays in the ports and land borders describing it as an ‘untenable status quo that must be changed.’
“APFFLON is shocked to the marrow that six months after that very tour, nothing has changed rather we have continued to face worse operational challenges”, he submitted.
He, however, disagreed on the planned withdrawal of service as muted by the CNRFF contending that every issues had to be resolved at a roundtable.
His words, “APFFLON, though in total support of CNRFF’s position, is of the opinion that every issues has to be resolved at a roundtable, not supporting an industrial action yet but would want all the issues to be urgently addressed.”
Photo: Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, National President, APFFLON.
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