The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has appealed to Federal Government to repeal move to remove the council form budget allocation.
The acting Registrar of the council, Mrs Chinyere Uromta, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen after a session with the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola in Lagos on Wednesday.
Uromta, however, urged government to take care of the council personnel salary, and allow them to use the Professional Operating Fee (POF) to take care of others as mandated by the council’s Act.
According to Uromta, this will enable the council to meet and create an international standard in freight forwarding to professionalise the sector.
“All we needed is absolute support, not necessarily money because the Act and approval have been given to the council by the Presidency in 2019, empowering them to collect money to train its stakeholders.
“Our major mandate is to train freight forwarders and represent Nigeria in the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA), as without CRFFN, Nigeria cannot operate in the logistics chain.
“There are lots of issues and foreign countries cannot do business with us and we will loose,” she said.
As regards the council relocation to Abuja, Uromta noted that the CRFFN building was about 90 per cent completed.
Uromta explained that CRFFN’s presence in Abuja would be a source of revenue for the council.
According to her, a part of the building will be for the training of freight forwarders, which is part of the council’s mandate.
She noted that Abuja would be the administrative headquarters, while Lagos remains operational.
“Here should have a head also, a director regulation and enforcement to oversea things done in this zone.
“When we look at Lagos, the western zone, where you have the seaports, and our stakeholders are here, the people we are to regulate,” she said.
She commended the stakeholders on the level of compliance in POF collection, but noted that the effort was not easy.
Uromta said that the freight forwarders had been there all the while but not regulated.
“You can not just give like that, one must resist. There should be conditions to give and that must come in form of incentives for them to pay.
“The money is for them and for the council to contribute to the Gross Domestic Product of the country and they have been cooperating with us,” she said.
In non-remittance to freight forwarders, she said the council was poised and committed to paying arrears but noted that it had to be gradual.
“During a town hall meeting in February, this was raised and I made it clear and known to them that the council will pay them.
“Arrears are being compiled and when they are done with that, the new ones will start. But, we had hitches as well, some of the account details were not rimming.
She also suggested that the council’s Act be ammended so that clarity be given to its activities.
“We are not professional bodies, if clarity is given by amending the Act, this will help and everyone will take their right places.,” she said.