Chief Ernest Elochukwu, the chairman of the occassion addressing the summit.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The spate of corrupt practises and their attendant effects on Nigeria and her citizenry have again been brought to the fore as two pressure groups in the freight forwarding and logistics sub-sector namely, the Concerned Nigeria Registered Freight Forwarders (CNRFF) and Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum (FFCF) came together to organise a one day freight forwarders summit with the theme: Leveraging on the global strategic alliances in air/sea freight management.
The event happened Thursday at the Rockview Hotel, Festac with big name players in the industry presenting papers that dissected their trade and proffered solutions to the identified challenges. The opening remark was presented by the convener of the programme, Dr. Basil Nwolisa who noted that “Due to the exposure to corruption, about 2000 Nigerians with a couple of international collaborators have stolen more than $800 trillion from 1979 till date”. He noted that the freight forwarding sub-sector is in the murky waters of corruption, greed and selfish interests of the leaders. He opined that the unity of purpose as provided by these pressure groups provide the opportunity to right the wrongs by benching selfish interests and corruption for good.
Participants at the summit in a group photograph after the event.
The chairman of the occasion, Chief (Sir) Ernest Elochukwu in his presentation noted that the forum is an opportunity to “Scrutinise topical issues militating against the practise and the development of freight forwarding in Nigeria” . He added that it is envisaged that this summit becomes an annual event with structures that would be determined in the course of the gathering.
The chairman of the CNFF standing committee, George Ndubuisi encouraged the summit to make submissions that will deal with issues that are affecting all.
The representative of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Ndubuisi Uzoegbo said that the Council is always available to ensure that the freight forwarders are protected and that they are the best option to provide the needed respect that the industry deserves.
A cross section of the participants at the event.
Chief Henry Njoku was represented by Chief Increase Uche who noted that the summit aims at identifying all areas militating against the practice of freight forwarding and also to proffer solutions as they are willing to partner with the CRFFN to help the lot of their teeming members.
Dr. Segun Musa in his submission stated that freight forwarding is a dynamic business and that it will continue to change and so, practitioners should brace up for all the needed changes that must come.
Chief Remi Ogunbemile, the president of AMATO warned that this summit should not end up as a talk shop, but that words must be followed with action.
Pastor Shotayo, the representative of the APFFLON president in his submission said that the critical issue of discriminatory treatment of freight forwarders leading to disenchantment in the ranks of freight forwarders should be seriously addressed.
Adeyinka Aroyewun, the COMTUA president said that all the trucking communities are united to tackle the recurring challenges.
Mr. A. O. Vincent noted that the Port Novo axis is now taking up to 70% of the cargoes meant for the West African coast because of the inherent difficulty in cargo clearing in the country and that there is an urgent need to address the skewed imbalance.
Godfrey Emeka Nwosu opined that a subcommittee should be set up to work with the forum to find ways of implementing the resolutions reached.
Edwin Chukwudire informed the house that since this a pressure group, they should continue to lay down the marker on the need for propriety in the whole gamut of freight forwarding practice and on issues bordering on the monitoring of terminal operators and shipping companies because of their terrible treatment of Nigerians.
Onome Joy Monije, the only lady that spoke at the occassion opined that the freight forwarders should be able to ask the Customs that they should do an evaluation of the vehicle identification number (VIN) valuation regime after the initial 100 days of its existence and that they should also disclose what their assessment of the complaints and resolutions are right now. She added that there should be a Customs/freight forwarders forum to train people in the process of classification that is embedded in the practise.
At the end of the summit, a communique signed by George Ndubuisi and Razak Giwa was released and it states that:- The summit commends the sacrifices of participants who took time off their businesses to attend the Summit and make contributions.
The Summit commended the efforts of the organizers of the Summit.
The Summit recommended improved relationships between governmental and non governmental organizations in the ports and freight forwarders henceforth.
The Summit recognises that the problems bedeviling the freight forwarding subsector in Nigeria has been increasing rather than decreasing and that solutions should be sought for henceforth.
The Summit demands that the implimentations of the 32-point solutions identified by Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum(FFCF) in its meeting in August 2022 and ratified by Council For The Regulation of Freight Forwarding In Nigeria (CRFFN) in its meeting in September 2022 should be expedited.
The Summit agrees that there will be a Monitoring Committee for the implimentation of solutions of identified problems in the subsector.
The Summit agrees that “The Nigerian Freight Forwarding Summit” shall be an annual event under same structure.
The Summit recommended that henceforth the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding In Nigeria(CRFFN) should effectively fulfill its mandate of training and retraining of practitioners and to always attend to the welfare of Registered Freight Forwarders.
The Summit agrees that all stakeholders should close ranks and present a united front always.
The Summit recommends that henceforth, the CRFFN Governing Council and management should be administered strictly according to the provisions of the establishment act.
The Summit recommends that the CRFFN establishment act should be amended to reflect the required focus and independence.
The Summit also recommends that all freight forwarding associations should be merged into one body for effectiveness.
Communique was read to participants and was adopted.
The chairman on the day, Chief Ernest Elochukwu concluded that the freight forwarding community is pivotally positioned to help the country in overcoming it’s economic challenges, but that the inefficiency in the system is drawing us all back. He advocates the expansion of knowledge and standard building for a greater opportunity for Nigerians in the handling of project cargoes.
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