The immediate past chairman, governing council of the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN); Alhaji Hakeem Olanrewaju has chided the four freight forwarding associations which met and agreed that the 15 council seats in governing council of the CRFFN should be shared among the five registered associations.
Alhaji Olanrewaju said this is a statement he personally signed on Monday, where he also opined that sharing CRFFN governing council seats among the five associations would disenfranchise freight forwarders who are not members of these associations.
Shipping Position Daily recalls that, four associations, namely: National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Association of Registered Freight Forwarders Nigeria (AREFFN), the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), National Association of Air Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC) met recently and allotted the 15 slots to themselves.
Even though it was not at the meeting, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) had also endorsed the sharing.
But, the ex-chair of CRFFN argued in the press statement, that the development is deceitful, more so when those currently championing the course were opposed to the success of the council in the recent past.
He said: “This development sounds interesting and indeed deceitful, especially coming from most of the critical elements who pride themselves as industry gladiators, and who swore that, for as long as they are not elected or appointed into the council, the council should be crushed and shall never be allow to succeed”
“These elements resorted to all manners of blackmails, insinuations, incitements, propaganda, campaign of calumny, organized protests against the regulatory policies, and various court actions, etc against the council”, he alleged.
He queried the rationale behind the attempt to jeopardize the CRFFN election guidelines, which the proposal would have amounted to.
According to him, even if the proposed sharing formula was to be accepted, “the simplest thing to do which would have saved money and time of the council is to write each registered freight forwarding associations to pay an agreed amount for electoral expenses, then hold an internal elections among their contesting members at their respective secretariats based on the so-called ‘sharing formula’”.
“In this case, it would have been most appropriate for the management team of the Council to supervise each election, according to its slated timetable or allotted dates and at the end, swear those elected by the respective associations into the council”
“This would have saved all concerned the revenue and the stress of traveling to Abuja for the election, this will also be more peaceful”, he argued.
Arguing further that the arrangement to share the 15 seats among the five associations clearly put practitioners who are not members of the associations or those not sponsored by the associations at a disadvantage, Olanrewaju said: “Now that the associations have shared and are also insisting that, there shouldn't be any room for an independent candidate, why is then the stress of a stage-managed election, when the election results are already typed out and handy?”
“This arrangement, if it is anything to go by, is fraudulent and highly deceitful under the circumstances that there exist electoral guidelines”.
“The Supervising Ministry must also watch it closely, so that the CRFFN will not turn out to be an extended secretariat of the freight forwarding associations, where in a subtle manner, the regulatory council turns out to be regulated by the regulatee”, he advised.
The ex-CRFFN Chair also cautioned would-be governing council members not to see the council as an avenue to enrich themselves, even as he pointed out that whenever its collection starts, the controversial Practitioners Operating Fee (POF) will be paid into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and not into the account of the CRFFN.
“Take note that, if the enforcement of the Practitioners Operating Fee ( POF) commences, as a key revenue component of the Council, automatically the fee will be paid directly into the Treasury Single Account ( TSA) by the forwarders, either at the point of releasing the cargo or at the point of exit.
According to him, the CRFFN is neither a terminal operator nor an extension of the freight forwarding associations.
“The Governing Council of CRFFN is not a Port Terminal or an extension of freight forwarding associations’ secretariats. Rather, it is a meeting point where both the appointed and elected members meet twice a year as provided in the Act, excerpt for emergency meetings”
“In any of the said meeting each member is entitled to a sitting allowance, accommodation, feeding and return ticket and then an approved estacodes where it involves international travels”, he explained.