“Some freight forwarding jobs should be restricted to Nigerians”
Mr. Yinka Bakare is the newly-elected President of the National Association of Air freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC). In this interview with Anozie Egole, he spoke about the association he currently leads, his vision, while dwelling on the challenges facing the industry and the way forward.
“The number of agencies either here at the airport or the seaport could be pruned down or reduced”
What was the NAFFAC that you met on ground when you assumed office like?
NAFFAC is an association formed in 1993 and it became a corporate entity in 1995 and since then they have been on ground doing their things and supporting the government and other associations. We have been on ground to make freight forwarding business what it is today and as you are aware, it is one of the five registered freight forwarding associations by CRFFN. So it is a well know freight forwarding association in Nigeria and one of the voices that established the CRFFN.
What are the new things that your administration intends to introduce into NAFFAC?
As far as the association is concerned, I believe that nothing is lacking; the only thing we need to do is to expand the scope as far as the association is registered by CRFFN and are recognized by the government, they have everything they needed to make it a working association. So the other thing we need is to build on what we have on ground, expand the scope and make it more acceptable to other associations across the country.
Talking about expansion, how do you intend to do that?
We have some chapters already in place, we want to rebrand and rebuild them and make the chapters come alive and give them a new look. Maybe very soon we will be inviting you guys; when we will be having command tours and all that.
What is the relationship between NAFFAC and CRFFN?
Because NAFFAC is one of the major brains behind the establishment of CRFFN, we have a very good relationship with them. We gave birth to them and we will surely make sure that they come to limelight and it is working and it is going to work because it is for freight forwarders.
Do you think the election into the CRFFN governing board was fair?
As far as it was for the freight forwarders and everybody was represented there, what we need is to move forward which should be the next thing, not going backwards. Every association that is registered by CRFFN is represented in the election which I think was a good thing. Going forward, we might still think of what to do, but for now, I think going forward is what we need.
What do you have to say on the delay for the inauguration of the newly elected governing board members of CRFFN?
I don’t think there is anything much to worry about the board, election has been conducted and appointments have been made into the board, whether it is today or tomorrow the board will still kick-off. This is election period in the country, so I am very sure that in a very short period the board will kick-off. So I don’t think there is anything to worry about; the necessary things that are supposed to be done have been done. At the ideal time, it will kick-off.
What is your relationship with other sister associations like NAGAFF and ANLCA?
To the best of my knowledge we relate well with all the associations we don’t have any issue with any of them. I could relate well with the president of NAGAFF, ANLCA, NCMDLCA amongst others, so we don’t have any issue with anybody, our relationship with them is very cordial. We don’t have any issue with any association or group in Nigeria as far as freight forwarding is concerned.
How would you asses Ease of Doing Business at the airport?
There is nothing different with what we have either here or at the seaport. Let me also correct this, NAFFAC is not only meant for the airport alone, the name include consolidators, people are only looking at the air freight forwarding without looking at them as consolidators too. So every clearing and forwarding person are also consolidators, we are not limited to air alone. It’s just that when we were formed the people behind the association started it from the airport. Apapa chapter of the association has been in existence for so many years, we also have Calabar and Port Harcourt chapters. So it is not limited to the airport alone, so we are working both at the airport, seaport and border stations. Whatever that is happening at the airport and seaport we are aware of it. So talking about the single window either air, sea and the land border we face the same challenges. The only difference is that we don’t have traffic on the roads here the way it is in Apapa. But when it comes to the system, the ease of doing business and the number of agencies; it is the same thing here.
See if you have 10 agencies at the seaport, you also have 10 agencies at the airport; there are the same issues of cargo clearance process, agencies and all that. What we are saying and what we stand for is that the number of agencies either here or the seaports should be pruned down or reduced, the scanners should be working everywhere both here and seaport. I could go and carry my goods out within 24hours as far as the duty is paid. So there will not be any need for us to go through unnecessary physical examination from one table to the other. We can achieve it if there is cooperation with all the agencies.
What effort is your association making in the area of sensitizing your members on proper declaration?
We are one of those people that have been in the frontline of kicking against foreigners taking over the markets in Nigeria, especially the business of freight forwarding. A Nigerian will not want to sabotage the interest of Nigeria. And when you look at these importers and clearing agents, majority of them are foreigners; they have access to the powers and do what they want. We are part of those people that are clamouring seriously that the pure local content act should be looked into and some jobs should be restricted to purely Nigerians, so that we could actually defend what belongs to us. As it is, we are only working on Bill of Lading and it is ‘said to contain’, but we could actually work on that more if we are sure of who our importers are and we could relate to them very well. 0909 863 5968
What efforts are you making towards getting to know these importers very well to avoid importation of contraband?
Do you know that if a Lawyer is to write an agreement it has to come with a seal which is the lawyer’s number? Now what we are saying is that if freight forwarders are going to have business it is going to come with the freight forwarders number which should be what will hold you responsible as the person handling that business. And if I have that I won’t have to take any business from you , if I am not sure of what you are doing because my number is at stake. So if the CRFFN board is inaugurated, this is the type of thing we want to push forward and see how to ensure that every freight forwarder is seen as a professional and that will go a long way in eradicating the issues we have in the sector.