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CRFFN should license clearing agents not Customs- Hassan Bello

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Abiola Seun

The immediate past Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) Barr. Hassan Bello has urged the Federal Government to strengthen the Council for the Regulations Of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN), to grant operational licenses to Freight Forwarders.

Bello, speaking at the maiden graduation ceremony in Freight Forwarding and Supply Chain Management of CRFFN on Saturday, said licensing of freight forwarders by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), is archaic and local.

He added that the ports need to be efficient and digitalized, hence the need for training of Freight Forwarders who are major players in the industry.

This is even as he added that the major function of the Council is the training of practitioners.

The former NSC boss also lamented the long cargo clearance process at the ports, stating that there is need for the nation’s port to operate 24 hours for efficiency.

According to him, “the practice of freight forwarding is very important as far as the logistics chain is concerned as it is an economic activity that would help the country.

“We need an efficient infrastructure, our port, road, rail and other modes of transportation to be efficient. We need investment in soft infrastructure, massive transportation modules, so that the practice of freight forwarding can be professionalised.

“The freight forwarders share a relationship with shippers, they move goods from one point to the other, so they must be trained to avoid things that are negative as far as cargo clearance is concerned.

“And I am talking about delays and how Nigeria will reduce it’s dwell time. And when the freight forwarders are trained, they will help shorten the dwell time.

Speaking earlier, the Registrar of CRFFN, Barrister Samuel Nwakohu has lamented that the payment of Practitioners Operating Fee (POF) by freight forwarders is very low.

Nwakohu, informed that the annual projection of the council is about N5 billion in a year, but lamented that presently the council is collecting bellow N2 million per day.

The Registrar however noted that, if the terminal operators begin enforcement compliance, the level of freight forwarders compliance will increase, while urging freight forwarders to be compliant to the mandatory payment.

“Compliance is still very low. If you look at the projection that we have, which is about N5 billion a year and presently on the average, we get less than N2 million daily.

“It is going to be tough. But I believe that the more the terminal operators begin to enforce the better.

“The fact with the terminal operators is that when they all start enforcing, the level of compliance will go up considerably, because right now, it is less than five per cent.
“We have achieved less than five percent of our projected revenue, which is poor. But the good thing is that we have started,” he said.

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