By Godwin Oritse and Godfrey Bivbere
The new Chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni, has said he was determined to sanitise the freight forwarding industry, especially in the area of amending the council’s Act and eliminating foreigners in the cargo clearing processes at the country’s ports and other locations.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria, MARAN, in Apapa, Lagos, Tsanni, who sought support of the maritime journalists, said he was determined, to do his best in ensuring that the freight forwarding industry is strengthened to be able to create millions of jobs for Nigerians.
He stated: “We are here to do our best for the industry; to find ways to sanitise the freight forwarding industry; improve the capacity of freight forwarders, and strengthen the Council’s laws to be able to solve the problems and challenges facing it. “We believe that by doing this, we will become more effective in our trade and then be able to reduce cargo dwell time in our ports.
“We have met many of the freight forwarding and licensed customs clearing agents associations and we are still visiting other stakeholders to identify with them and ensure that every stakeholder is on the same page to achieve our collective goals.”
Also speaking during the visit, National President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Chief Uche Increase,hinted that the Practitioners Operations Fees, POF, remained the major source of funds for the Council. He also hinted that the Council would be working to specifically ensure that no foreigner is seen doing business in customs brokerage circles.
“By the grace of God, POF will be the livewire of CRFFN and we are not going to let it die. The freight forwarding industry is large; a vital industry like freight forwarding that links up all the logistics chain should be able to generate enough funds for itself.
“We may not go back to issues that will lead to controversy, but we will make sure that POF survives and used for the purpose for which it was created,” the NAGAFF boss said.
Reacting to the development, the President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, told Vanguard Maritime Report that the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders does not have the right to regulate Licensed Customs agents. Amiwero explained that licensed Customs agents are regulated by the Minister of finance adding the CRFFN can only regulate freight forwarders who purely transporters.
“The CRFFN is a body of transporters that are not suppose to be at the ports”
“Freight forwarding is not licensed Customs agency, there is no law regulating foreigners involved freight forwarding practice as they are seen as transporters.
“Freight forwarding is a Minuit aspect of licensed Customs agency, they are completely two different things.
“Freight forwarders are not supposed to be at ports but at international border posts like Seme border.
“A licensed customs agent do not need to a freight forwarder Under section 156 of the CEMA , the minister if finance has the power to regulate licensed customs agents. “Section 30 of the CRFFN Act says that much about who a freight forwarder is and what his job entails”, he said
Earlier, the President of MARAN, Mr Anya Njoku, called on the Council to ensure that its doors are open to maritime reporters. He also harped on the need for the CRFFN Act to be amended, “with a view to giving the Council some teeth to bite.”