…It’s time for Council to stand on its feet – Ogunojemite
The Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria, APFFLON has expressed its happiness over the plan by the federal government to stop funding of professional bodies and Councils including the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN by December 2024.
The President of the association, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite who made this known in a chat with our correspondent in Lagos on Tuesday said that the development would enable the management of the Council to look inwards and grow the Council from within.
Ogunojemite further added that the development would force the management of CRFFN to focus and pursue its mandate as a regulator and not divide the freight forwarders by the propagation of the 6:6:1:1:1 sharing formula during election of the freight forwarders into its governing council.
His words, “I am in support of the government stopping the funding because we do not see the impact of this funding on the freight forwarders. The government should not only stop the funding, it should probe the finances of the Council to know what the monies budgeted for it in the past were used for.
“How much do we know that is being budgeted for the Council? What are the positive impacts of the fund on the freight forwarders? So, there must be accountability and transparency in the Council because public money should be used for public good. The government should not only stop the funding, it should also investigate how the funds are being spent.
“Secondly, that stoppage will now force the management of the Council to focus on the mandate of the Council and not to cause problems in the port by promoting the 6:6:1:1:1 sharing formula. The management of the Council have to run an inclusive Council, you have to bring all the freight forwarders together. You are to regulate not to divide freight forwarders. The Act is clear.
“So, now, if you need to lead and there is no subvention from the government, you will now know the importance of having people around you. There is no hard and fast rule that we must have three or five registered associations. So, as long as people meet the requirements, you allow them to register and they will feel among you and pay their subscription.
“If other Councils are generating money to survive, I don’t know what is stopping the CRFFN from generating money to survive too?”
Reminded that the freight forwarders kicked against the Professional Operating Fee, POF instituted by the Council as a source of revenue, he said, “We were against POF because we do not know what they are doing with the subvention given to them. There was no transparency in what they were having before. There is a lot of allegations against CRFFN and there was no refutation to date. Again, the money is not provided for in the Act.”
He, however, suggested that in order for CRFFN to break even in the new dispensation, it had to review its guidelines and sensitize all the freight forwarders so that they should be on the same page with the Council adding that the Council should be an umbrella that all freight forwarders should run to and get sheltered, a place for training and dissemination of accurate information about the industry.
He continued, “Again, our Council should not be sharing Board seats 50-50 between the professionals and politicians. A Council belongs to a professional body and so, the political class should not be part of that Council. Even if they should be part of it, they should be given ten percent of the seats to observe what the Council is doing.”
The APFFLON boss, therefore, advised the management of CRFFN to sit up, get stakeholders together, increase membership, promote the Council, sensitize and consult with the stakeholders and see how they will generate money from the industry.
“It is time for the Council to stand on its feet otherwise freight forwarders may look elsewhere for regulation. So, if you can’t work for them, they will work for themselves. The Constitution of Nigeria guarantees the citizens the freedom of association and the Act 16 of 2007 that established the CRFFN does not limit the number of associations to be registered. If you must upgrade the Council, you must listen to the people and you must make a change.
“So, that is why we are happy that the government is going to stop the funding so that the management of the Council will look inwards and grow the Council from within”, he stated.
Photo: Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, President, APFFLON.
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