NAGAFF visits Shippers’ Council
… Seeks Council’s intercession in CRFFN crises
A delegation from the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), led by the NAGAFF Founder, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, on Tuesday, paid a courtesy call on the Acting Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello, who received the visitors at the NSC’s SHIPPERS’ TOWERS headquarters, Apapa, Lagos, in the company of other top officials.
Aniebonam, while assuring Bello of the support of NAGAFF towards achieving the objectives of NSC, urged the NSC boss to wade into the crisis rocking the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
Aniebonam lamented that the “wobbling and fumbling” of CRFFN has deprived freight forwarders of their professional rights subjecting them to intimidation and harassments in the course of doing their business at the ports.
“Last time you saw the various arrests that are being made. How on earth can freight forwarders go to the ports to do their business just for them to be stampeded and bungled into the courts! A lot of those arrested are in the courts now and at the Federal High Court they are being asked to provide shortees that own a house in VGC or in Victoria Island because you went to the ports to do your business. For God sake, as an agency of the government if there are people that are criminal minded or revenue risks you must find a way of getting those people. That is why the problems facing CRFFN affects us a lot because the CRFFN is the platform to solve all these problems,” Aniebonam said.
Also speaking, the Shippers’ Council boss commended NAGAFF for its steadfastness, even as he assured that the NSC will continue to work as an unbiased arbiter in stabilising the CRFFN.
Bello also assured that the Federal Government will not allow CRFFN to die noting that the crisis rocking CRFFN is part of its teething problems.
“If we have indicators to show that we have more tonnage coming to Nigeria, we have turn-around time for ships improved, dwell-time of cargo in the ports have improved, and so many indicators are showing some positivism, then the issue of reform of freight forwarding practice must also be at the frontburner. But, like all pioneering problems we know, we have to face some hitches here and there. CRFFN is five years old, but it is good sometimes to experience such kind of things, so that, when you sit down, you have the experience to look at what the problem is. We have been asked, even by some shipping companies, that it is also our role, the Nigeria Shippers’ Council, as umpire … arbiter, to make sure CRFFN works. And what we need do, is simply to go back to the originators of this noble objective and find out how we can move CRFFN forward,” Bello said.
He added: “We are in the middle, we are an arbiter or an umpire trying to bring that balance, because shipping cannot thrive unless there is that equilibrium, unless there is that level playing field. One cannot lord it over another and I think that NAGAFF are with us in this quest to make sure that Nigerian ports are competitive, that Nigeria is a good place for doing business and that Nigerian importers and exporters are not only protected but encouraged.
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