The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN) have joined forces to tackle discrepancies in the disbursement of the Practitioner Operating Fees (POF), issuance of valid ID Cards to freight forwarders as well as other critical challenges facing the freight forwarding industry.
In a working visit to AREFFN at its National Secretariat in Lagos on Thursday, the Acting Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of CRFFN, Mrs Chinyere Uromta noted that the essence of the collaboration is to address long-standing concerns within the sector to improve the overall efficiency and professionalism of freight forwarding services in Nigeria.
Uromta stated that the leadership of the Council is aware of the huge outstanding remittance of the POF declarant fee to eligible associations and individuals. She noted that since the Council has been removed from the list of agencies to enjoy government funding, it has been grappling with the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from the POF to fund the obligations and activities of the council.
The CRFFN Acting Registrar however assured freight forwarders that the management of the Council is working on closing ranks with the records ensuring the commencement of the payment of all outstanding of the POF declarant fee as and when due.
Emphasizing on the importance of training for all freight forwarding practitioners, Uromta stressed that the core mandate of the Council is to professionalize the freight forwarding sector by developing standards, providing education and training programmes for freight forwarders.
She however called on all freight forwarders to take advantage of these opportunities by enrolling for the certification training with the council through their various associations. She added that the Monitoring and Enforcement Team of the council will begin to sanction and stamp out freight forwarding practitioners without a minimum certificate by FIATA.
In her words: “The Leadership of CRFFN is aware that we have a huge outstanding remittance of this fee. The reasons were partly due to wrong account numbers submitted initially and some other challenges beyond our immediate control. We would like to assure you that efforts are in place to commence payment of all outstanding and ensure going forward, payment of this ‘gazetted’ fee as and when due. Kindly bear with us.
“I will like to seize this opportunity to implore the leadership of AREFFN to further assist in registration of more members with the Council and further collaborate with us on POF payment as the proceed from the later will serve as a return on investment and will be well utilized for the purpose of continuous trainings for freight forwarders.
“Together, let us elevate the standards of freight forwarding in Nigeria, thereby contributing to a robust and seamlessly connected global supply chain network. Let me end by assuring you that the Council will continue to facilitate and promote capacity-building training and other responsibilities to enhance the different aspects of the freight forwarding sector” Uromta noted.
On his part, the National President of AREFFN, Alhaji Bala Daura lamented that it is absurd for the Federal government to give revenue target to the CRFFN, adding that there is a drastic drop in importation due to current high charges in the port.
The President who was represented by the National Secretary of the association, Mr Frank Obiekezie noted that there is no much revenue for CRFFN through the POF payment because there are no more jobs for freight forwarders at the ports adding that the current government policies are counter-productive, killing the port system.
Daura called on CRFFN to revisit issuance of valid Identity Cards to eligible freight forwarders to enable them have easy documentation and access to the ports. He also stressed on the need for the Council to work closely with the Nigeria Shippers’ Council in order to protect the numerous interests of freight forwarders in the industry.
The AREFFN President also called on CRFFN to subsidize the training fees for members of the association, adding that a good number of its members have started training programmes affiliated with Redeemers University, but the funds are becoming high and not affordable by majority.