Newly-elected Chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Tsanni Abubakar has promised to tackle the influx of foreigners in freight forwarding practice in Nigeria, even as he has assured that the Council under his watch would work with the Nigeria Customs Service to resolve the challenges surrounding issuance of licenses to practitioners.
Speaking with Shipping Position Daily exclusively shortly after the election in Abuja on Wednesday, Abubakar said that himself, being an exporter and a freight forwarder is also feeling the impact of foreigners taking over the job of legitimate Freight Forwarders.
He lamented the influx of Chinese men infiltration into wood processing and export in Nigeria, assuring that the Council would address all such challenges
He lamented that, "a Chinese man would go to Taraba, buy wood and come to Shagamu and do what he is supposed to do while you as an exporter is there doing nothing, you have no alternative than to collect the wood and export it for him as a third party, this is wrong".
"We would look into the relationship between freight forwarders and Customs, the port authority, the shippers council and other agencies, by God’s grace between now and December, you would see a lot of development in the freight forwarding industry, we are not here to sleep, we are not here to joke"
"I don't think we would have a problem with Customs, there is a Deputy Comptroller General of Customs (DCG Isa Tallatu ) who is also a member of the board", he said.
He also promised to unite all members of the board and all freight forwarders in the industry.
Before speaking with Shipping Position Daily, Tsanni spoke at celebration party with Council members at the Barcelona Hotel, Abuja and revealed that he is an importer and that he knows where the shoe is pinching. He solicited the support of freight forwarders towards the successful running of the Council.
Also speaking with Shipping Position Daily, Chief Henry Njoku, Vice Chairman of the Board vouched for the CRFFN saying that contrary to insinuations that he was an ordinary government appointee and not a professional freight forwarder, Tsanni Abubakars ' name has been on Freight Forwarders register.
"For the CRFFN registered members, if you go there before this election, the Chairman's company is there, if he is not a practitioner, how did his name come in there? He does more of export and that is his core area"
"The leadership of the Council needs someone who is cool headed and who knows what it takes to bring people together" Njoku told our correspondent.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had earlier approved Tsanni as Chairman of the Council against other names put up by the Council members, saying that he needed someone as chairman that he can work with.
Other names suggested to Amaechi were: Vice President of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Dr. Kayode Farinto, President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Increase Uche, Senator Bisi Oyewo and Chief Henry Njoku.
He however turned down the nominations saying that he did not want to appear biased by approving a candidate from West or South of Nigeria.
Amaechi arriving from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting complained that he would have ordinarily supported Sanni Abubakar if Tsanni had been lobbying for the position of Chairman of CRFFN right from the Presidency.
The Council members later unanimously adopted the candidature of Tsanni agreeing that only him has the political will to solicit for better representation for CRFFN.
When the gathered freight forwarders attempted to quote the CRFFN Act, the minister practically shouted them down.
Amaechi's first words were: "I have not come here for any inauguration, I just came to seek your advice on who should be chairman, so who do you think can be chairman?
" If you want to start quoting law, I will tell them to call in the legal adviser, this council has suffered a lot, and I need somebody I can work with to be Chairman "
Henry Njoku of ANLCA and Increase Uche of NAGAFF later slugged it out for the position of Vice Chairman of the Council. Henry Njoku emerged winner with 21 votes while Increase Uche had 8 votes.