The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN has assured freight forwarders that it will play a lead role in pushing for the speedy refund of container deposits collected by shipping companies at the nation’s seaports.
CRFFN Registrar, Mrs. Chinyere Uromta, gave this assurance during a working visit to the headquarters of the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, AREFFN in Lagos, on Thursday.
According to the Registrar, the Council initiated some discussions with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC in the past in a bid to address the multifaceted problems associated with container deposits and the new CRFFN management will explore partnership with NSC on the issue.
She also stressed that the Council will join forces with AREFFN and other freight forwarding groups to tackle discrepancies in the disbursement of the Practitioner Operating Fees, POF, issuance of valid ID Cards to freight forwarders as well as other critical challenges facing the freight forwarding industry.
Uromta noted that the essence of the collaboration is to address long-standing concerns within the sector to improve the overall efficiency and professionalism of freight forwarding services in Nigeria.
She stated that the leadership of the Council is aware of the huge outstanding remittance of the POF declarant fee to eligible associations and individuals, but assured that the challenges will be surmounted.
Meanwhile, she noted that since the Council was removed from the list of agencies to enjoy government funding, it has been grappling with the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR from the POF to fund the obligations and activities of the council.
Emphasizing the importance of training for all freight forwarding practitioners, Uromta stressed that the core mandate of the Council is to professionalize the freight forwarding sector by developing standards, providing education and training programmes for freight forwarders.
She, however, called on all freight forwarders to take advantage of these opportunities by enrolling for the certification training with the council through their various associations.
Her words: “The leadership of CRFFN is aware that we have a huge outstanding remittance of this fee. The reasons were partly due to wrong account numbers submitted initially and some other challenges beyond our immediate control. We would like to assure you that efforts are in place to commence payment of all outstanding and ensure going forward, payment of this ‘gazetted’ fee as and when due. Kindly bear with us.
“I will like to seize this opportunity to implore the leadership of AREFFN to further assist in registration of more members with the Council and further collaborate with us on POF payment as the proceed from the later will serve as a return on investment and will be well utilized for the purpose of continuous trainings for freight forwarders.
On his part, the National President of AREFFN, Alhaji Bala Daura lamented that it is absurd for the federal government to give revenue targets to the CRFFN, adding that there is a drastic drop in importation due to current high charges in the port.
The President, who was represented by the National Secretary of the association, Ichie Frank Obiekezie noted that there is no much revenue for CRFFN through the POF payment because there are no more jobs for freight forwarders at the ports adding that the current government policies are counter-productive, killing the port system.
Daura called on CRFFN to revisit issuance of valid Identity Cards to eligible freight forwarders to enable them have easy documentation and access to the ports. He also stressed on the need for the Council to work closely with the Nigeria Shippers’ Council in order to protect the numerous interests of freight forwarders in the industry.
The AREFFN President also called on CRFFN to subsidize the training fees for members of the association, adding that a good number of its members have started training programmes affiliated with Redeemer’s University, but the funds are becoming high and not affordable by majority.
Photo 1: (L-R): Ichie Frank Obiekezie, National Secretary, AREFFN and Mrs. Chinyere Uromta, Acting Registrar, CRFFN during the visit on Thursday.
Photo 2: Mrs. Chinyere Uromta, Acting Registrar, CRFFN in a group photograph with members of AREFFN in Lagos on Thursday.
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