28th September, 2012
The lingering crisis rocking the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) seems unending as its National Chairman, Governing Council, Ahaji Hakeem Olanrewaju has warned the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, that scrapping the council would affect port development and the country’s economy as a whole.
Olanrewaju’s warning may not be unconnected to a petition submitted by the National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, to the transport minister to stop CRFFN from collecting transaction fees on goods imported into the country.
Specifically, Olanrewaju said that any move to close down the association was a breach of the Act that established CRFFN in 2007 as the authentic regulatory body for freight forwarding operations in the country.
He said the minister should be careful as the fate of over 10,000 practising freight forwarders are in his hands. Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos, recently, the National Chairman, Governing Council of the CRFFN, said that the crisis in the association was a “family affair,” which would be resolved in a family manner without interference from the Ministry of Transport.
He said the ANCLA’s petition to the ministry and the Nigeria Customs Service directing her members to ignore the transaction fees payment was a calculated attempt by the ANCLA to stop the CRFFN from carrying out her mandatory obligation as stipulated in the CRFFN Act, hence shortchanging the association’s revenue collection.
“Many of our affiliated members have expressed solidarity with us over this issue and we have told them to remain calm and that we would convey their solidarity message to the Minister of Transport on why the association cannot function without funds.
“If there is no fund to run an organisation effectively, the organisation would close down. And this will affect over 10,000 professionalised freight forwarders in this country . Consequently, there will be mass congestion and touting at the ports in all over the federation.
“But if there are funds for the running of the association, there will be massive capacity building and attitudinal change among freight forwarders,” he explained.
According to immediate past president of ANCLA and a council member of the governing board of CRFFN, Chief Ernest Elochukwu, the internal crisis within the association came about because of greed.He pledged that all warring parties would be invited to a peace meeting where the matter would be resolved amicably.
Shittu had approached the court for redress in the face-off between it and the CRFFN over transaction fees.
Both ANLCA and CRFFN confirmed that the matter was already in court. Technical Assistant to ANLCA national president, Alhaji Sanni told newsmen that Shittu has resigned from CRFFN governing board and that the association had already gone to court.