Stakeholders

By Eguono Odjegba

AT the backdrop of the controversy rocking the freight forwarding and customs brokers associations over the setting up of Compliance Monitoring Team by one of the industry groups, some stakeholders have condemned the Compliance Team as well as the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN.

They blamed the CRFFN for creating the atmosphere that has enabled the agitation for the creation of these private compliance units. They also frowned at the alleged failure of the CRFFN to professionalise the freight industry and serve as a mediation system to forestall delays in cargo clearance, extortions and frivolous penalties suffered by importers, their agents and freight forwarders.

The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, earlier this year, set up what it called a Presidential 100 per cent Compliance Team, which it inaugurated about two weeks ago.

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This was followed by the establishment of a similar structure, the Anti-Corruption Committee by the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, while another faction of National Council for Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, set up a 20-man Compliance Committee, to checkmate sharp practices and corruption related issues in the cargo clearance chain.

Speaking on the development, President, Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria, APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, said the bandwagon show is an indication of the failure of CRFFN to live up to its responsibility.

He said: “We all know that this activity belongs to CRFFN, what are they doing? And if there is no reason, these associations will not set up these taskforces or compliance teams or anti-corruption committees. This is almost two years since the new CRFFN board was put in place. What can we point out to as achievements by individuals registered with CRFFN? They were not formed outside the association; they are still part of the association. So, it is just like ethics and discipline within the association to handle some issues.”

Condemning the various teams as illegal and frivolous, the National President of All Port Unified Freight Forwarding Practitioners Association, APUFFPA, Prince Mike Okorie, said the development calls for serious concern. This even as he called on the Federal Government to disband CRFFN which failure, he said, necessitated the illegalities currently going on.

According to him, “This issue calls for a serious concern among freight forwarders and I call upon the Minister of Transportation and the Federal Government to disband CRFFN for inefficiency. If private associations can take over the functions of regulatory bodies it portends a serious danger in the industry.”

He, however, flayed NAGAFF and ANLCA which he said should accept responsibility for the failure of CRFFN since both associations constitute the board and management of the CRFFN.

“But come to think about it, the associations are also culpable because NAGAFF and ANLCA both control six members of the fourteen member council. Does that mean they cannot impact positively on the council? You guess is as good as mine.”

Vanguard

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