Freight forwarders want PDP, APC, others to unveil seaport, maritime devt

The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) wants the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other political parties to reach out to its headquarters to discuss their plans for the country’s shipping industry, freight forwarders interests and that of importers.

Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of NAGAFF, Mazi Chidiebere Enelamah said the solutions to the many issues bedeviling the maritime sector must be reflected in the manifestos of any economically-focused political party seeking to lead the country.

He listed some of the issues to include the issue of extortion from freight forwarders and clearing agents by the agents of the government, which he ranked as the greatest problem in Nigeria’s shipping and seaport business. Others are undue interference over the realisation of the objectives of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) by the Transport Ministry and stoppage of containers by the agents of government unduly at the various shipping companies.

“Illegal arrests of containers along the city roads by Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) leaves much to be desired as far as benefits of democracy to Nigerians, especially freight forwarders, are concerned,” he said.

While calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure seamless and maximum distribution of the permanent voters’ cards (PVC) before the March 8 deadline, Enelamah however advised members of NAGAFF to collect their PVCs.

He urged freight forwarders to remain neutral and not waste their time at campaign grounds, as their votes must be in bulk for our chosen candidates at all levels in the elections.

He said NAGAFF was studying the electioneering situation especially the manifestos of the various political parties presenting candidates for the 2015 general elections in Nigeria. He said NAGAFF shall in due course give direction as to where members’ votes should go. “Our position shall vary from federal to state elections depending on our negotiation with the main actors vying for elective positions.

“As freight forwarders, we are positioned at the gate-ways of the nation’s economy with over 10 million followership in Nigeria as far as international trade is concerned. And for the avoidance of doubt, the freight agents are the coordinating agents of all the importers and exporters in Nigeria. We also interface with manufacturers, shipping companies, terminal operators, banks, insurance, haulage group, government agencies, Customs brokers, packaging industries and other critical stakeholders along the supply chain management and delivery of cargo to the owners’ warehouses.

“We must negotiate practitioners’ interest because our suffering is getting out of hand in the Nigerian ports and border entry points.  Our clients are constantly losing professional confidence in us as if we are not practitioners of honour and integrity,” he said.

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