Abiola Seun |
The Minister of Transportation Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has reiterated warning that freight forwarders who do not follow the established processes as stated by law will not be allowed to operate in Nigeria.
This was as he enjoined all freight forwarders in Nigeria to take advantage of the certification process put in place by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to become professionally fit and competent as well as achieve the International diploma in Freight Forwarding and Supply Chain Management.
Amaechi speaking at the 2019 Sensitisation Workshop on Freight Forwarding as a Career on Tuesday in Lagos, organized by CRFFN said the certification which is internationally recognized by the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA), will not only educate and enlighten freight forwarders but also improve the country’s performance index.
The minister said, “professionalising freight forwarding will no doubt improve the ease of doing business ratings and reduce smuggling activities which is dangerous and inimical to the country’s economy. Any educated and enlightened Freight Forwarder will always find the space to fit in.
“We are also hopeful that all these efforts will yield better competitiveness in the industry because it is the Freight Forwarding activities that determine the logistics performance index and therefore the country’s competitiveness,” he said.
Amaechi insisted that “only those who obey the law will be allowed to operate adding that getting certified would be the first step to implementing the CRFFN law and those who have refused to function within the law will be compelled to do so.”
Earlier in his address, Registrar and CEO of CRFFN, Barr. Sam Nwakohu said the governing council of the CRFFN has determined that the FIATA Diploma in Freight Forwarding and Supply Chain Management would be the minimum standard of qualification required to be registered as a freight forwarder in Nigeria.
He said, “this is the new benchmark for professionalism come 2021 and it is intended to be raised as prescribed by the freight forwarding Act to FIATA higher diploma in future… We are doing a lot of integrating and if you are not registered with us, your license will not be renewed by customs.”
Explaining that some institutions have been accredited to administer courses in Freight Forwarding and Supply Chain Management, Nwakohu noted that it is a legacy project that holds the promise of driving Nigeria’s competitiveness through job creation, promotion of entrepreneurship, capacity building and enhancing ease of doing business.
He announced that the CRFFN plans to embark on a massive technology upgrading that includes having a tracking system in clearing and forwarding where trucks can be tracked in real time just like Uber to enhance simulation between agencies at the ports and freight forwarders.
Nwakohu called on the National Assembly to help make this technology come alive within a year by allowing the council include it in their budget.
Responding, Chairman Senate Committee on Maritime Transport, Sen. Danjuma Goje who was in company of his House of Representatives counterpart, Chairman House Committee on Ports and Harbours, Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad assured CRFFN of their cooperation in ensuring that the much desired change and upgrading is achieved.
Earlier Goje said, “As you can see, the federal government represented by the Minister and the National Assembly represented by me and Hon. Datti, we are all behind you. We want a situation where this profession is properly regulated. When it’s regulated, the service delivery will be of higher quality and that would add great value to the determination of this administration to turn around the economy of this country and to make sure that Nigeria achieves its desire of coming out on top in the world economy.
“We also need to improve on our ports. The Apapa problem is a shame and must be tackled, so the ports will be clear and the freight forwarders will do their job better, importers and exporters will be better serviced and the economy will be the great beneficiary” he said.
In the first paper titled “the role of freight forwarding in International business,” Prof. Matthew Ilori said the maritime business is the second largest GDP contributor and should be treated with importance. He acknowledged the difficulties faced by freight forwarders at the ports, and advised that technology will help resolve all the hitches which includes excessive taxation. He stated that there should be a seamless connectivity with Customs, NPA and the freight forwarders to check these; and improved technology is the way forward.
Answering questions after giving the second paper titled “The role of Freight Forwarding in International Trade Economy,” Dr. Obiora Madu said implementing the new rule is easy, “people should not be allowed to renew their licences if they have not been certified by the CRFFN.” He added that perfecting documentation is key in the freight forwarding process and the training is necessary to avert some avoidable mistakes or omissions in logistics that can cause a misunderstanding at the ports with Customs.
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