Pioneer Chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike, has declared that only about 20 per cent of those practicing as clearing agents or freight forwarders in the country are computer literate.
Nwabunike, who made this revelation at a stakeholders’ forum on 48 hours clearance of cargo organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in Apapa on Thursday, said the situation was worrisome and inimical to the prompt clearance of cargo at the nation’s seaports.
The former CRFFN Governing Council Chairman said that the attainment of the 48 hours target for clearing of cargo at the ports will remain a mirage unless there is an online platform where all the principal actors involved in port operations are interconnected.
Nwabunike, who represented the National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, also stated that a good number of practicing freight forwarders are not willing to go through relevant professional training.
“I was the pioneer chairman of CRFFN. Almost 95 per cent of our members refused to go through training. 80 per cent of freight forwarders cannot use ICT. So what are we talking about? How can we achieve the 48 hours clearance? 48 hours clearance of cargo in Nigerian context today is not feasible. With due respect, let’s not deceive ourselves, we cannot achieve it.
“First of all, the government is not helpful, the roads are bad. On the risk assessment report, PAAR, the banks are not transmitting straight to the customs because nobody is actually regulating them and PAAR is not economically viable. There is a problem and there must be a means of fine-tuning all these problems,” he stated.
Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers Council, Barrister Hassan Bello, in his welcome address at the event, said that the 48 hours target for clearance of goods was a benchmark established by government to bring Nigeria at par with other emerging economies.
He said that factors militating against the attainment of 48 hours clearance can be summarized under cumbersome documentation procedures and unnecessary long inspection process.
“Everybody’s activities impact on the inability to achieve 48 hours clearance target in one way or the other, whether we are shipping companies, ports and terminal operators, regulatory agencies, freight forwarders, shippers and even the government through policies,” he stated.