The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Monday claimed that the failure of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) in its statutory functions forced it and other associations to set a Compliance Team at the ports.
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CRFFN had described the setting up of the Compliance Team by Nagaff and other associations as illegal.
But NAGAFF in a statement by the Secretary, Policy and Strategy Scribe, Dr Arthur Igwilo, while highlighting some of the statutory functions of the freight forwarding regulatory agency as they affect members of the associations said the Council was yet to fulfill them.
The association pointed out the need for training of freight forwarders, arguing that if CRFFN had carried out this, it would have helped in achieving standard knowledge and skills expected from practitioners.
The association insisted that the Compliance Team was established to manage its members in line with international best practices.
Part of the statement reads: “According to section (4b) And (4c) which states the statutory functions of the council. 4(b) states that the Council will determine the standards of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to be registered Freight Forwarders and raising those standards from time to time in accordance with International Industry practise.4(c)To regulate and control the practice of freight Forwarding.
“Based on the provisions of the above, issues of standard knowledge and skills were mentioned. And these are achievable by training. If an individual was properly trained, the tendency is that he/she will behave aright better than an individual improperly trained by any standards.
“In the practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria, it has been observed that most members lack proper professional training. Therefore, their attitude to practice their profession is always questionable.
“The expectation of NAGAFF as the umbrella body of all freight forwarders is that by this 21st century freight forwarding practice, reasonable percentage of the practitioners must have been properly trained having under gone series of training programs. But to our chagrin, CRFFN has literally failed in carrying out most of their statutory functions as expected.
“In the wisdom of NAGAFF based on the aims and Objectives of the Association, we have the responsibility to regulate, train and empower our members. By doing so, they are expected to behave better. Having realised that we are yet to get the best out of our numerous members in terms of professional good conduct, we decided to establish the Presidential 100% Compliance Team.
“For emphasis, the Team was established to manage our members in line with International best practices. Ensure that freight Forwarders are made to be compliant in the way they practice the profession. The kind of professional advise they should give their clients should be akin to professional ethics. Compliance to fiscal policies of the Federal Government. How best to relate with Agencies of government including the Nigeria Customs Service. Bank transactions. Relationship with Haulage services providers, and many other Stakeholders. Even interpersonal relationship among the practitioners.
“Apparently, we set out inadvertently to help CRFFN carry out her statutory duties. Our efforts are tantamount to complementing the activities of CRFFN as a responsible member of the council. Ordinarily, we could have expected CRFFN, to commend and encourage us to even do more. Instead, they chose to disparage NAGAFF.
“Our commitment to this is in line with our desire to sanitize the system, assist in facilitating trade to attract and enhance revenue generation. Make the FREIGHT Forwarding subsector one of the biggest employers of labor, reduce cost of doing business which had skyrocketed by not being Compliant by the Shippers. Ignorance they say is not an excuse in law .Untrue declaration by Shippers’ and their Agents is evidence of non compliance. Section 46 and 47 of CEMA made provisions for the consequences of such action. Such action is born out of ignorance. But if properly trained, the propensity and propinquity to endulge in such economic sabotage will be drastically minimised.
“To say the least we are practically disappointed in the unconfirmed statement of the Registrar, as such NAGAFF may reconsider its membership of the COUNCIL. In addition, NAGAFF may return to FIATA as well as relisting our appeal court suit to determine the status of CRFFN in reality”.