*Urges freight forwarders to register with the council
By Lizzy Okoji
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that only Freight Forwarders registered with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) can do business in seaports.
Amaechi made this known when he inaugurated the Third Governing Council of the CRFFN in Abuja on Thursday.
Amaechi said that taking cognisance of the significant role freight and forwarding plays in the nation’s economy, the Federal Government had taken measures to set up the council to regulate and control the sub-sector.
According to him, authenticating genuine freight forwarders among many other measures will help to regulate and control freight forwarding in all ramifications.
He explained that Act. No 16 of 201 establishing the council charges the CRFFN with the responsibility, among others to determine the standard of knowledge and skills to be attained by persons seeking to be registered freight forwarders.
“I am particularly interested in the programmes of education and training as well as regulations, monitoring, compliance and enforcement to bring about international standards and best practices.
“Now, we have set up this governing council, from today, the council must serve its functions and must discharge its responsibilities.
“I have directed Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) not to allow any of you enter until you are a registered member of this organisation.
“The next thing is our appeal to Comptroller General of Customs that nobody should clear any goods if he is not a registered member.
“While we check people who enter seaports, we should also check people who do businesses in the seaports.
“I will insist that only those registered with CRFFN can do business in the Ports.
“Agents of NPA and customs should take note because the law is very clear about freight forwarding,’’ Ameachi said.
The minister also urged the council and its members to conduct their businesses in a way that would positively affect the populace and avoid excessive charges on products.
He noted that on assumption of duty, he took interest in the activities of the council and its challenges of inaugurating the third governing council and collection of its internally generated revenue (IGR).
The minister said that while the challenge of setting up the third governing council had been resolved, council members should ensure that they resolve that of the IGR.
Amaechi further urged the council to be conversant with the rules and regulations guiding it and to cooperate with the management toward achieving set goals.
He advised them not to lose focus of the aims and objectives of establishing the CRFFN, urging them to handle affairs of the council in the overall interest of the nation.
He said that the ministry would continue to give the council the direction and assistance when and where necessary in the task ahead in other to achieve the desired results.
Amaechi also warned members against illegal collection of money on behalf of the Federal Government, stressing that anybody who engages in such criminal act would be dealt with in accordance with the law.
In his response, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni, the newly elected President of the council, assured that under his watch there would be a positive transformation in freight forwarding.
Tsanni assured the minister that the council would deliver on its set goals.
He said members were sound and intelligent people that were drawn from across businesses, civil servants and representatives from the six geopolitical zones.
“We thank you for the opportunity and chance given to us. I want to assure you that this team is a very good team that you will work with.
“I assure you that we would do our best to succeed in the assignment given to us.
“From now till November, we will finish all the process, by the first week of December, we will go into full operation and at the end of December we will brief you of our progress,’’ Tsanni said.