By Godfrey Bivbere
Minister of Transport, Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Bio has called on the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to partner with other organisations and parasatals under his watch to ensure it fulfil its statutory roles and responsibilities as enshrined in the CRFFN Act 2007.
The Minister who stated this in a keynote address he delivered at a two day strategic retreat for members of the council at the Akwa Ibom State capital, Uyo argued that there was need for CRFFN to collaborate with other stakeholders, particularly the parasatals in the Federal Ministry of Transport to ensure that it achieve its set goals and objectives.
According to him, â€œI am glad that the parasatals of the Ministry have been invited to this retreat and expected to play key roles. They are the arrow heads of the maritime industry in the country. There should be effective collaboration between the council and these sister agencies to bridge any regulatory gaps and develop strategic partnerships. Such partnerships should be extended to other stakeholders such as the Nigeria Customs Service, port service providers, major terminal operators and concessionaires.â€
â€œWe expect that regular and professional courses, workshops, seminars and conferences would continue to feature prominently in the affairs of the council. In doing this, we need to be reminded that the world is now a global village. The council should endeavour to tap from international best practices to ensure its services are competitive and could match any in the worldâ€.
Bio who was represented at the occasion by the Assistant Director, Maritime Services in the Federal Ministry of Transport, Mr. Danjuma Alabi urged members of the council to make professionalism their watchword in the discharge of their duties. He enjoined the council to ensure due process and zero tolerance for corruption in all the processes and procedures involved in the accreditation and registration of potential freight forwarders in the country.
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Obong Godswill Akparawa Akpabio who was represented by his deputy, Engr. Patrick Ekpotu enumerated the dividends of democracy his administration has provided for the people of the state since he mounted the saddle of leadership two years ago.
He called on the Federal Government and CRFFN to partner with the state government to ensure that its proposed seaport situated at Ibaka is fully developed for the benefit of the citizenry.
According to him, the Ibaka seaport which already has a natural depth of 11.5 metres will not only enhance Nigeriaâ€™s status in the comity of maritime nations but also boost the economy arising from the dwindling revenues from oil and gas due to the global financial crisis. It will also ease the burden on the nationâ€™s seaports, particularly the ones situated in Lagos.
The Chairman of CRFFN, Mr. Anthony Iju Nwabunike had in his welcome address lauded participants for their favourable response to the retreat which he said was meant to build the capacity of council members to have better understanding of the goals and objectives of CRFFN as stipulated in the Act establishing it. He commended the state government for accepting to host the retreat in the state, pointing out that it would go a long way in boosting the proposed Ibaka seaport as a maritime hub in the country.
According to Nwabunike, the establishment of the Ibaka seaport and the presence of the only International Maritime Organisation (IMO) recognised maritime training institution in the country, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, would go a long way in making Akwa Ibom State a potential flag destination in Nigeria.