Stakeholders in the nation’s maritime sector has welcomed the plan by the federal government to discontinue budgetary allocation to professional bodies and Councils, including the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN by December 2024.
It will be recalled that in a memo to one of the affected councils dated June 26, 2023, the Budget Office of the Federation said the move was in line with the decision of the Presidential Committee On Salaries (PCS).
Funding would be stopped for at least 30 of the professional bodies and councils by December 2024 whilst budgetary allocations would be stopped for other bodies by December 2026.
Reacting to the development, a former National President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Dr. Eugene Nweke, in an interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos, weekend described the plan which included the regulatory body for the nation’s freight forwarders, CRFFN as a healthy development.
Nweke opined that with the development, the CRFFN would begin to have a crop of leaders who are desirous of serving the Council rather going there for personal aggrandizement and wake up to their responsibility, saying, “We will get professionals to work and comply with the rules. All we needed is to get government backing in the area of sanctions.”
He continued, “We have a judge leading our tribunal, we must have the capacity to test the professional murky waters and get the Council working. CRFFN is self funding meaning that without government funding, it can stand on its own. We don’t need some of the bogus things by way of budgeting, allow us to grow overtime.”
Nweke who is also the Head of Research at the Sea Empowerment and Research Centre noted that the federal government had helped the CRFFN by giving it structures in Abuja and elsewhere adding that the ones it cannot maintain, it would lease them out and still get money.
“With this development, there will be no need for any political appointment into the Council, it will be totally a professional affair as it were when we went there. The seconded government agencies there are Shippers’ Council and others but to bring in politicians into our Board, we are not the Nigerian Ports Authority Board or NIMASA and I know that most of the politicians in the Board, if they have understand the implications of the pronouncement, will be requesting for redeployment. On their own, they will stay off. So, it’s a healthy development.”
Speaking on areas of possible fundings for the CRFFN, he said, “The CRFFN is a professional body and that body is an Act of the Parliament Act 16, 2007 and subsection of that Act gave room for annual subscription, renewal of subscription, registration, selling of bulletin and of course, accreditation fee, training, retraining and so on. These are all means of revenue generation. It can also brand her souvenirs and sell them in order to make money.”
“So, to me, I see it as a very welcomed development. It is for us to maximize what the government has done for us by way of intervention, put them into perfect use and then set up a committee, we start from now to do a transition so that we go back to our professional development. It’s a wake up call. We get ourselves fixed together as professionals, we know that the law is clear on the aspect of enforcement and sanctions, we will move in and do our job.
“If you go into this industry and your name does not appear on the register and you said that you are a freight forwarder, we will arrest you, detain you and send you to jail for six months or one year. We must inject professional discipline into the system. So, it doesn’t affect us”, he added.
On his part, Mr. Godfrey Emeka Nwosu observed that now the government has officially withdrawn that right to budgetary allocation to CRFFN, the managers would now realize that the Council was meant to be a regulatory agency and not a ministerial card carrying agency.
According to him, “Now, anybody who is going to take up responsibility as the Registrar of the Council will know what it takes to run a regulatory agency. It is not going to be easy because of the cost of maintenance, staff welfare and other things. There will be no money there again to share and that will make us have professionals managing the Council and working within the provisions of the Act establishing it.
“Now, people will take the payment of dues seriously. So, if I pay my N10,000 annual due, I should know what they do with it.”
Send your press invite, news, press releases/articles to email@example.com. Also, follow us on Twitter @PrimetimeRepor1 and on Facebook on facebook.com/primetimereporters or call the editor on 07030661526.