Invasion of the maritime industry by non-professionals has been a major cry of practitioners in the maritime industry.
There is no subsector in the maritime industry that its practitioners have not cried woe over the invasion of the trade by those considered as not professionals. Some of these operators have even gone to the extent of referring to these alleged non-professionals as quacks.
Apart from crying over the invasion of quacks of their various trades, they cry of foreign domination of their respective trades.
At the 2012 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the issue of the domination of the freight forwarding industry by non-professionals again came to the fore.
Throwing up the issue this time around was the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Council of the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Alhaji Hakeem Olanrewaju.
Olanrewaju stated emphatically when he mounted the podium at the ANLCA’s AGM in Lagos, that the bulk of Customs agents operating at the nation’s entry points are non-professionals.
Not stopping at that, he went further to say that 75 percent of agents operating at the entry points cannot explain import policies, which, according to him, leave them gullible to malpractices in the clearing process.
If these statements were coming from another person in the freight forwarding industry, one would have taken it with a pinch of salt, but certainly not of the capacity of Olanrewaju.
For the CRFFN boss to have made such statement before such a large gathering, where the media was present, he certainly shot himself in the foot. He shot himself in the foot because of his position as the Chairman of the Governing Council of the apex regulatory body for freight forwarding in Nigeria.
If truly the percentage of unprofessional agents amounts to 75 percent about five years after the establishment of the CRFFN, then it calls to question what the Governing Council members and the Executive Management have been doing.
The CRFFN was established for the sole purpose of sanitising the freight forwarding profession and making its practice in the country in line with international best practices.
Olanrewaju and other members of the CRFFN Governing Council and Management must be held responsible for the continuous invasion of the sector by the non-professionals, because they cannot deny knowledge of why these set of persons persist in the profession.
The CRFFN boss cannot say that five years down the line we still have these unprofessional set of persons amounting to 75 percent in the profession. This means that the Governing Council members have not done anything to fulfil their mandate.
Before Olanrewaju became Chairman CRFFN, he was the Vice Chairman, so he is in a better position to explain what real steps have been taken so far to sanitise the profession.
If Olanrewaju and other members of the Governing Council cannot explain what other things they have done for the last five years, apart from the so-called train-the-trainer course, and the registration and subsequent inauguration of over 5,000 practitioners, then they should resign honourably and leave the stage for those who have the political and moral will to execute the CRFFN’s brief.
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