Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr Boniface Aniebonam, and Registrar/Chief Executive Officer, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Sir Mike Jukwe, are again on the opposite sides of the divide over the status of the freight fowarders’ regulatory body.
The two leading freight forwarders, in separate exclusive chats with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, have sharply disagreed over whether CRFFN is a parastatal of the federal government or not.
While the NAGAFF founder is of the opinion that the Council is a private organization and should not be mistaken for a government parastatal, the CRFFN Registrar asserts unequivocally that the Council is a government institution and should be seen as nothing other than that.
Aniebonam, who fired the first salvo during an exclusive chat with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, said that it was wrong for the CRFFN to carry on as a government agency noting that despite receiving directives from the Minister of Transport, the Council is a private organisation.
“That it is domiciled in the transport ministry does not mean that CRFFN is a parastatal of the Transport Ministry. But you see over time, for four years running; it is most unfortunate even though we wouldn’t start going back to all those anomalies where the transport ministry tend to conduct itself as if CRFFN is a parastatal under them but it became clear in the midterm report, the minister never talked about CRFFN as a parastatal under the ministry”, he said.
Jukwe, as comeback to the NAGAFF founder’s position, however contended that CRFFN is every inch an agency of the federal government under the supervision of the Minister of Transport.
He said: “The Act is very clear on that. Section 5 gives the Honorable Minister the powers to give direction to the Council and Section 5b has gone further to say that when such directions are given it is not on a particular issue of general character and so on. Even if the Minister will give the Council the opportunity to give its own opinion at the end of the day, the overriding directive of the Minister is final. So who controls the Council and where does the Council derives its powers from? Is it not government?
“Nobody should deceive this country or anybody that CRFFN is a private body! People saying that are saying so for their own personal interest! They have their agenda; they know why they are saying so but that is not true! The Council has been established by an Act of the National Assembly of the government of this country, the mandate is very clear. The supervisory role of the minister is very clear so what are we talking about!”
Jukwe also contradicted Aniebonam’s position that the absence of a governing council has crippled the activities of CRFFN.
He noted that the NAGAFF founder’s claim was incorrect even as he cited the flag off of enforcement of the CRFFN Act last Thursday, and the recent admission of Nigeria into the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, FIATA, as proof that CRFFN has been functioning well despite the absence of a governing council.