The Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi has described the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) as the most problematic agency in the transportation ministry.
Amaechi while speaking on the performance of each agency under the ministry during the 2021 World Maritime Day event, which held in Lagos last week, described CRFFN as a ‘House of Petitions’ owing to the numerous petitions by individuals and various freight forwarding associations in the industry against the council.
Even though he commended the CRFFN for introducing the Practitioners Operating Fee (POF), he however expressed displeasure over the inability of the council to generate revenue for the Federal Government through the Practitioners Operating Fee (POF).
He expressed disappointment that the CRFFN has been foot-dragging on the collection of POF, even though it had all the approvals to do so.
According to him, “CRFFN; that’s the biggest problem we have in the Ministry, they are experts at petition writing, everyone one of them are experts at petition writing. In fact, in the management meeting, I said we are going to dissolve every one of them and I told the Permanent Secretary that she will just have to write a letter that your services are no longer needed, nobody will take you to court for that one, it is only when you say they have been sacked, that they can take you to court, we are planning on that and everybody will leave except the staff.
Speaking further, he said, “even when they had a new Registrar, their petition has continued, it was there when the old Registrar was there and even if we remove the present one, the petition will continue to come, that is the only place where we have problem”.
“CRFFN, honestly beyond your petition-writing, the POF you introduced to recover money for the government is good, but I am tired of the management and the petition-writing, I think you need to do more than that, even as regards the POF”, he said.
Speaking earlier, the Registrar CRFFN, Barr Sam Nwakohu, while delivering his goodwill message stated that that the world would have been one boring and unenterprising globe, without the services provided by seafarers.
He said as an active player in the logistics and supply chain, the Council knows that Nigerian seafarers and freight forwarders have a nexus, adding that the 2021 World Maritime Day celebration which focused on seafarers and their importance in shipping, makes it apt to stress the already-known fact that, for seafarers to be engaged, there must be vessels.
He said just like their counterparts in other climes, Nigerian seafarers are the first victims of marine attacks and accidents when they occur while also stating that the outbreak of COVID-19 has further put a huge strain on crew change, which tests the staying power of seafarers.
Harping on the importance of freight forwarders to global business, he told the gartering that, “for cargo to serve its diverse purposes and meet needs around the globe, it must be delivered to the warehouse or final destination as pre-determined by its owners in a safe condition”.
“May I, with all humility and noble intent say therefore, that this is why the world’s freight forwarders are also of a great essence. Have we ever thought about it that; yes, the cargo will get to the port, but, without a freight forwarder, the cargo may never get to its final destination”, he stated.
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The CRFFN Registrar added that, “freight forwarders, including, but not limited to those whom we refer to in Nigeria as clearing agents, insurance underwriters, the haulage service providers, among others, perform freight forwarding jobs, albeit in diverse ways”.
Still drawing the attention of stakeholders to the importance of freight forwarding, Nwakohu stressed that, “in the maritime industry where seafarers and freight forwarders perform complementary roles, freight refers to the cargo that is carried using the shipping services offered by the shipping lines who use the ships.
“While the seafarer is the next focal point after the ship and the cargo, the freight forwarder completes the chain. As the cargoes are delivered, the next task is to deliver them to the consignees’ warehouse. This is the task of the freight forwarder”, he stated.
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