Scrapping it is illegal and abuse of the principle of rule of law. Don’t forget that the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) is a creation of the Nigerian parliament in what is known as the CRFFN ACT 16 of 2007, set up to regulate the freight forwarding practice in Nigeria, just as you have the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). All over the world, freight forwarding is seen as a profession. And in order to bring it to the same level with other professions like law, medicine, engineering, a body has to be set up to regulate its practice, in tandem with the specification from International Federation of Freight Forwarders (FIATA), which is the umbrella regulatory body for the practice of freight forwarding all over the world. When NAGAFF was founded through the effort of Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, NAGAFF approached FIATA to secure its membership, FIATA told NAGAFF that the body does not register individual associations but rather a national body that is made up of professionals and must be devoid of government control. That was how Dr. Aniebonam assembled a team of experts and professionals and committed his resources to get a bill prepared and alongside people of like minds push the bill through the two Chambers of the National Assembly and this eventually resulted in CRFFN Act 16, 2007. So if Nigeria wants to continue being a player in world freight forwarding business, it cannot make any move to scrap CRFFN. Yes the body has not lived up to expectation of sanitizing practice of freight forwarding and professionalising the trade after 12 years. The reason is not far-fetched. Those who assumed the driver’s seat at its inception were people who did not share in the ideals of the CRFFN when the council was being conceptualized. They were the very people who threatened to kill the CRFFN bill at the committee stage in the National Assembly. But unfortunately, they took control of the Council and mismanaged it. Unknown to them they were preparing the ground for the government to attempt (though still on -going) to take control of what is supposed to be purely an independent body, free from government control. Nigeria cannot afford to scrap CRFFN now, when it seems to have found its bearing with the inauguration of the new board which has professionals with deep knowledge of the industry. I think practitioners should exercise patience and just give the members of the current Board some time to prove their mettle. What we owe them is our unflinching support.
If the ministry of transport cannot be scrapped because they have not met up to expectation, so also CRFFN cannot be scrapped because it is an agency created under transportation. Though a lot is been expected from the board of the Council but nothing is been done, I know that a lot has not been fixed by the current board and before you know it their tenure will end and new people will come on board. The issue is that they have not been put on their thinking cap because a lot of things they were supposed to have put in place have not been done as a result of not electing people who can think out of the box. I know the board need to be reformed, some of them do not have certificates to show that they are certified freight forwarders and they ought to have been trained to be certified. Not been certified is alarming. So tell me how they want to perform their responsibilities when they are not certified freight forwarders.
I do not support scrapping of CRFFN but the issue is that the council has to be remodelled because it is established under an act of parliament and any organisation that is established under an act of parliament is an outstanding organisation. One of their roles is to regulate the freight forwarders because there are so many freight forwarding associations and also sanitize the industry under the maritime sub-sector and also to make sure that the policy of government does not become a difficult problem to the practitioners. So many policies are been rolled out by the federal government and the stakeholders are not involved, it is the duty of the board of the council to let the government and the minister of transportation know that the policies are not working for the practitioners but the council is not doing so. Ever since the board of the council was inaugurated, nothing has been done, they keep saying one thing or the other and still no action performed.
CRFFN should be reformed and not scrapped although the council has not been adding value for what it is meant for. The board of council are there as figure head and been paid for not performing their functions. The Council should be joined with other parastatals like Shippers Council to be a mini parastatal under Shippers Council. I do not know why the government is creating parastatals that are not adding value to the profession.
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