Freight Forwarding: Aniebonam Charges CRFFN Board on Professionalism, Illegal Collections by Terminal Operator
By Francis Ugwoke
*Birth of NAGAFF opened doors for freight forwarders in Nigeria – President
Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr Boniface Aniebonam Thursday called on the Board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to do everything to take the freight forwarding practice to greater heights in Nigeria in terms of professionalism.
Aniebonam who noted that there were so many things going wrong in the ports said it was left for the CRFFN Board to address them for the best interest of the profession and the national economy.
Speaking on the occasion of the Freight Forwarders Day which also marked the 20th Anniversary of NAGAFF, the founder announced he was quitting the association to give others a free hand to run it.
He said his exit is coming at a time when the CRFFN Board has Rtd Col. Tsan Abubakar and Chief Henry Njoku at the helm of affairs of the Council, adding that the two were best suited for the job.
Aniebonam said though Abubakar does not belong to either NAGAFF or Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), he will no doubt add a lot of value to the freight forwarding industry.
He said that this is even moreso with the likes of Chief Henry Njoku and other professionals as Council members of CRFFN Board.
He called on them to address the issue of a terminal operator, PTML stopping agents from going into the ports to do their job except they pay a registration fee.
Describing the practice as illegal, he said government agencies cannot be in the port system and allow PTML management to constitute themselves into an obstacle to other people’s business.
Disclosing that NAGAFF has written letters to the management of the company to stop such collections without avail, the NAGAFF founder urged the CRFFN Board to take the issue up for the best interest of freight forwarders.
He urged the CRFFN Board to put in place an enforcement unit manned by the Police to address issues of non-compliance or illegalities in the system, adding that this was the case for the Standard Organisation (SON).
“There has to be action against those who choose to circumvent the laws. We are not living in Banana Republic”, he said.
In his speech, Abubakar who represented the Minister of Transportation, Hon Rotimi Amaechi commended Aniebonam for his contribution to the development of freight forwarding in Nigeria.
Abubakar promised that his Board was all out to address all the challenges facing freight forwarding as a profession.
He solicited the support of the stakeholders to move the profession forward.
President of NAGAFF, Chief Increase Uche in his address said it was to the credit of the Association that its motto which is “ushering in sustainable freight forwarding practice” has become a big success.
Uche said it was the birth of NAGAFF that gave rise to the establishment of a government regulatory agency in the name of CRFFN to represent the interest of freight forwarders.
“Before the advent of NAGAFF there was no existing association or platform recognized by the government as representing all or majority of the freight forwarding practitioners operating in the country. What existed were sub element associations such that tend to represent Customs Licensed Agents and few other cultural and ethnic affiliations. The existing arrangements as at then clearly showed lack of proper identity by the various groupings. Coupled with the risk that the practitioners ignorantly adored, by clustering around a particular function with limited knowledge of what the entire profession should be and what the proper nomenclature to adopt as the industry was fast evolving”, he said.
He said that NAGAFF has continued to grow from strength to strength since its inception with the agenda of setting the pace as the foremost umbrella body of professional freight forwarders in Nigeria.