OLANREWAJU WRITES AMAECHI OVER POOR CRFFN MANAGEMENT
*** Says Council is increasingly losing its professional essence
*** Lists a plethora of factors militating against Council’s progress
By Mcanthony Onuoha
The attention of the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rt.Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, has again been drawn by the Former Governing Board Chairman of Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria-CRFFN, Aare Hakeem Olanrewaju, Rff., over what he termed professional recklessness on the part of the Management.
In a press release personally signed by Olanrewaju, dated 7th March,2022, and made available to the Prestige Blended Magazine Online, the Former Governing Council Chairman lamented the alarming speed at which the Council was drifting saying it would amount to leadership failure on his part if he maintained neutrality in the face of thriving professional recklessness and impunity.
HON. MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, RT.HON. ROTIMI CHIBUIKE AMAECHI
The Maritime guru listed the following as causes of a seeming endless rancour amongst
“First and foremost, let me put it on record that, the persistent clamour by the accreditated associations in their 6:6:1:1:1 sharing formula quests over and in preference to a credible professional electioneering process, stems from the following background and contemplations:
A) Notably, during the first governing council tenure, pursuance to section 6(2c) , we made a regulation – 2010 ( Annual Subscription & Other Fees). In this regards, the practitioner’s transaction fee ( PTF) later renamed Practitioner’s operating fee – ( POF), was regulated accordingly.
B) The Fee was aimed to rapidly develop and galvanize the freight forwarding profession and to place it on the global map, especially, among the comity of freight forwarding nations.
C). To this extent, it was resolved that the accreditated associations would receive a yearly subvention ( subject to the CRFFN management) for the sole aim of training programmes ( capacity building). The subvention disbursement will be effected with consideration to respective associations numerical strength and spreads across the operational zones. And such subvention is subject to yearly retirement and auditing by the CRFFN auditors. This was agreed on, in order to foster and integrate the culture of professionalism and accountability amongst the freight forwarding accredited associations.
D). Surprisingly, when there was no constituted governing council in place, the Former Registrar, in collusion with some ministry staff and association leaders, went from behind, on the 26th day of February, 2015, and amended the provisions of section 9(1) of the above regulations 2010, with a caveat which reads thus: “CRFFN collects 60% as Internal Generated Revenue ( IGR), the Associations will collect 35% as provided by the CRFFN Act ( Accreditation of Associations of Freight Forwarders). Regulation -2010. The Registered
Freight Forwarders/Licensed Customs Agents ( RFF/LCA) are entitled to the 5% of the Practitioners Operating Fee(POF), which will be collected by the CRFFN and remitted to the concerned RFF/LCA”.
E). At no time did the Accreditation of Associations of Freight Forwarders – regulation 2010 contemplated or contained such dangerous clause, except perhaps, to state the obvious suspicion that the said regulation might have been manipulated by the magic hands of the promoters.
F). The crux of the matter revolves around this premise, leading to the rampant press fireworks, the deliberate insistence, resistance and subtle threats and refusals by the leadership of the accreditated associations to any suggested or reasonable professional approach as regards election, etc, originate and revolve around obvious financial interests.
G). Let it be put on record that, the only time the accredited associations would be considered and deemed fit for an administrative fee of 2 % of total CRFFN yearly income generation is when the CRFFN would have successfully accredited upto 10 associations (to represent all the professional areas of speciality ), then it puts up a 10 years seal to further associations accreditation. And then, package the 10 accredited associations to transmute into the Nigerian Federation of Freight Forwarding Association (a pending regulation has already been articulated to this effect, awaiting ratification and official gazette which will be seconded to represent Nigeria in the global regulatory body, FIATA, and change the prevailing status quo, where the CRFFN is holding brief for Nigeria presently in the FIATA register as it were.
H). As presently constituted, the number of unaccredited associations by the CRFFN are far greater than the 5 accredited associations, and under such arrangement, industrial peace can not be guaranteed.
It was for the avoidance of these dangerous trends and for the singular purpose of fostering adherence to professional conducts and integrity that the first and second governing council leadership were very careful with this type of financial patronage to associations. Mostly so, because the possibility of the unaccredited associations coming together to join issues with the CRFFN management may be likely, hence the need to nurture regulation that will engender industrial peace other than sacrificing the peace we so much canvassed on the altar of poor regulatory effeciency thereby leading to further set backs.
I). In addition, let me strongly posit here that, the civil servants in the first and second governing council insisted then,that since the CRFFN was interpreted as an agency of the government by the Attorney General of the Federation, at no time must government be seen as sharing its revenue with an individual or corporate body, perhaps, this maxim seems to be no longer in place.
J). May I at this juncture implore the Honorable Minister to use his good office to avert looming professional chaos ahead.
K). Analysis of vested interests in the 35% yearly income allocation to the association, will be articulated and forwarded to your desk, after investigation.”
Furthermore, Olanrewaju listed noticable dangerous signs trailing the 35 percent revenue allocation to the Accredited Associations by official regulatory amendments.
” A). Association Owners/Leaderships Resort to select Forwarders that are loyal to them, as it was reported that some of them coopted and compelled some of their members to pay millions of naira in other to secure their nomination ticket to represent their associations in the Governiing Council.
Few of them in their open remarks taunted that, “there is always a return on investments”.
B. CRFFN Regulatory Aims, Goals and Functions were Compromised :
As provided in Section 4 of the Act 16, 2007, and noted in the published CRFFN CORPORATE BROCHURE, that :
1. The goals and aims of the CRFFN amongst others, include but not limited to:
a. Regulating and controlling the practice of freight forwarding.
b. Regulating and controlling the associations of freight forwarders.
c. Regulating and controlling persons who are engaged in freight forwarding.
d. Determine the persons or classes of persons who constitute Freight Forwarders for the purposes of this Act.
e. Determine the standards of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to be registered as Freight Forwarders,and raising those standards from time to time in accordance with international industry practice.
f. Securing, in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the establishment and maintenance of registers of persons entitled to practice as registered Freight Forwarders and publishing from time to time, the list of such persons.
g. Embark on continuous certification of freight forwarders.
h.. Create membership development toolkit ( Continuous Professional Development – CPD).
i. Ensure uniform standards of education, training and professional conduct of practitioners, etc.
2. Compromises Are Obviously Manifest or noticeable in the following areas:
a. As at 28th January, 2012, out of the over 5,000 application uploaded into the CRFFN portal, a total number of 1,435 individual membership and 445 Corporate memberships and 2 freight forwarding associations were duly verified/ accreditated, inducted and certificated ( counter signed by me), at the maiden induction of freight forwarders held at the main auditorium, University of Lagos, Akoka, on Saturday 28th January, 2012, thereby marking the formal establishment of the Register of Freight Forwarders for onward administration.
Wherefore, item 1c to i above was compromised as reported in the media, thus:
i. The registration of non practitioners as mercenaries merely for wining elections negates the provisions of item i to iii of the CRFFN published : REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUAL REGISTRATION and CERTIFICATE OF EXPERIENCE ISSUED BY AN EMPLOYER UNDER SECTION 20 OF THE CRFFN ACT 16, 2007.
ii. The Non application of the said provisions during registration excercise, prompted by an election into the Governing Council and non publication of true, verified and certified active practitioners and deregister notice and lists of non compliant practitioners ahead of an electioneering process is a deliberate compromise.
iii. It is an act of deliberate compromise for the CRFFN to designate its registration portal ( for both new membership and annual subscription registration activities) to an interested party ( association Secretariat) during an electioneering process, whileas the CRFFN has a conducive and functional office complex in Lagos and other zones.
iv. It was also reported that, soon after the election, the register of freight forwarders drops drastically, on account of non annual subscription in the subsequent years, till another election year, leading to membership data fluctuation, inconsistency and poor data keeping with regards to “real time comprehensive register of freight forwarders” that can be presented or accessed at any given time. This is an outright abuse of professional regulation and maintenance of professional register.
v. Item ‘1a to c’ above is evidently compromised, when and where the CRFFN management failed to control the internal crisis, still lingering in one of its supposed regulated, accreditated association..
vi. The present scenario in the industry, suggests that, the regulatees now decides the future of the regulator, this is a sorry state, as there is no end to this scenario, especially in during electioneering process and setting.
vii. Other instances of compromises abounds, but for the sake of time and space.
I hereby urge the Hon. Minister to settle down and take a second look at the electioneering process, otherwise, it will be regarded as looking the other way when so many compromises and issues are going wrong in an Agency under your supervision. Looking the other way or feigning ignorant of it will tantamount to nonchalance towards the freight forwarding profession knowing full well the roles and importance of the freight forwarding profession cum practitioners to the nations economy.
Furthermore, on a lighter note, I must also emphasise here, that, the role of women in a professional governing council leadership can not be over emphasized, as such, the minister is hereby encouraged to emulate the formal Minister, Yusuf, who in making his appointment included a reasonable number of women into the Governing Council, during the first and second governing council.
In the past, we had a list of reputable and seasoned civil servants whose immense roles and contributions towards advancing our regulatory obligations can neither be measured nor quantified during the first and second governing council, and they are:
a. Mrs Chinwe Ezenwa – Rep. FMOT.
b. Mrs Anne Mkpor. – Rep. NPA.
c. Mrs Vincent Rep..FAAN.
d. Mrs. Dabney Shaholma. Rep. NSC.
e. Mrs. A. Bidy – FF Rep.SS..
Today, under your watch from 2018 to date, only 2 women are seen contesting in the election. This shortfall discourages the aspect of increasing women inclusion by appointment. I posit so, from the lists before me.
Finally, I want to beg the Hon Minister to show cause and commitment towards the attainment of professionalism in the freight forwarding industry via an effective and efficient CRFFN administration.
His Excellency, Sir, please ensure you leave a worthy legacy at the end of your almost seven years in office as Minister of Transportation, especially in the freight forwarding subsector of the maritime industry. As far as we are concern, you have the will and the will is yours.
- Once again, help to avert looming chaos ahead”.