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How I secured lawmakers’ support to raise CRFFN funding, by registrar

By Adaku Onyenucheya
06 April 2022   |   2:53 am
Yes. Let me also clarify one thing. Emphasis is being made on the sea because a large percentage of our activities come through there. Let’s say you have already charged for a container and it leaves the port on a trailer....

Registrar CRFFN, Samuel Nwakohu

The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) is enmeshed in controversies, which is causing discomfort among practitioners. The Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Council, Sam Nwakohu, in this interview with ADAKU ONYENUCHEYA, explains how he got the support of federal lawmakers to increase funding.

The Council seems to have concentrated more on airports, seaports and border stations issues around freight forwarding, do you intend to bring freight forwarding under your umbrella?
Yes. Let me also clarify one thing. Emphasis is being made on the sea because a large percentage of our activities come through there. Let’s say you have already charged for a container and it leaves the port on a trailer going to Sokoto or Katsina. That container has paid its dues in terms of the supply chain to CRFFN, but I know there are other areas that we have not reached.

Let me give you a good example. There is something called carriage of dangerous goods by road, air or sea and I am aware that recently, we have been training people who engage in carriage of such goods by road.

What this means is that because we have realised that such an opportunity exists, we are training people who will, in turn, train others in the industry in the movement of dangerous goods by road, sea and air. All that is a form of capacity building and regulation. Gradually, we are progressing. Don’t forget that we are a regulatory agency, we don’t move cargoes ourselves

The recent election of the governing council members drew reactions and allegations that non-freight forwarders came to vote? How true is this and how many practitioners are on your register prior to the election period?
Over 6,000 registered practitioners are on our register and only registered freight forwarders were allowed to vote. No unregistered persons voted.

How would you describe CRFFN’s journey into producing 400 graduate freight forwarding practitioners as witnessed in your last programme at the University of Lagos?
CRFFN’s maiden graduation was a good outing and I am very pleased that it happened because we have been looking forward to such an opportunity. Part of our core mandate is to educate freight forwarders, determine their skills and set standards for them. I would buttress that with the appropriate sections of our enabling Act.

Section 15, subsection 1, gives the Council powers for approval of courses and accreditation of institutions to do courses in freight forwarding.

Section 16, subsection 1 of the same Act 16 of 2007 gives the Council powers to supervise academic activities concerning freight forwarding.

As I earlier said, our primary mandate is to set standards and train, using Accredited Tertiary Institutions (A.T.I). In addition, the Council has been accredited by FIATA, our regulatory organisation for freight forwarders. So far, CRFFN has been accredited to run the FIATA diploma in freight forwarding in Los Angeles in 2012, that was before I came.

We were also accredited to run Higher National Diploma in Supply Chain Management in Singapore in 2013.
CRFFN has appointed several training institutions across the six geopolitical zones, which include: the University of Lagos in the Southwest, Benue State University in the North Central, Moddibo Adama University of Technology in Adamawa State in the Northeast, Maritime Academy of Nigeria in the South-south, University of Nigeria, Nsukka in the South-East and Nigeria Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) in the Northwest.

To my understanding, part of the reason CRFFN was created by the Act of Parliament was that freight forwarding was an all-comers den and due to its potential to grow the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the government found it necessary to establish a body that will regulate the practice of freight forwarding in the country.

So far, training has commenced and it is ongoing. The maiden graduation ceremony was held on November 27, 2021. In addition to the over 400 graduates, CRFFN has over 200 trained trainers selected from academia, who deliver training from accredited institutions.

What advantages does a registered and accredited practitioner have over those who are not on the list?
There is a difference between Accredited Associations and Registered Freight Forwarders. An unregistered freight forwarder operates illegally and unlawfully. He is unrecognised by law. Whereas, a registered freight forwarder enjoys capacity building from CRFFN.

Recently, the council has been involved with the World Logistic Passport; we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with them. It is a project that we have signed with DP World in Dubai to facilitate express cargo clearance along with several cargo hubs across the world. DP World is a global leader in cargo supply chains, ports, terminals and related issues. Only people with integrity can be availed of that opportunity and there is no way an unregistered freight forwarder can be registered for that particular programme. It is available to freight forwarders who have proved over time, that they have integrity and understand cargo integrity will be recommended.

Some of them also enjoy monetary rewards for the clearance of payments of the Practitioner’s Operating Fee (POF). A registered freight forwarder is involved in the payment of the practitioner’s operating fee, whereas an unregistered one is not.

Somebody asked me how they move their cargo from the port and whether they practice illegally. The truth is that they use somebody else’s name, someone who is registered.

The registered freight forwarders are listed on the Council’s website as credible freight forwarders who can be contacted from any part of the world.

What has been the greatest challenge you have encountered in the office and how are you managing it?
The resources to run the Council were not there when I came and it was a great challenge. In a public sector like this, when you don’t have funding, it is very difficult to run the office. For many years, the Council gets only ₦33 million as overhead costs yearly, which was grossly inadequate to run all the offices and does not come regularly.

Through consistent appeals for help to the National Assembly, they get funds through the 2021 budget for the training of freight forwarders. We are now able to carry out some of our mandates such as capacity building, which was done free and at no cost to freight forwarders across the country. We wish to continue the training as far as the fund could take us.

The Director, Training and Education and his team have done very well. The training started in Port-Harcourt, to Enugu and then to Kano, from where they came to Lagos. Kudos goes to the National Assembly as we remain grateful to them.

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