… Plans may raise ports’ cost- stakeholders
There is a strong indication that cash strapped Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) may be working seriously, for Government’s lifting of the ban, on collection of transaction fees at the ports.
The Council made this known at the weekend, during the inauguration of it’s corporate head office in Lagos, stressing that several of its laudable programme were hampered by severe shortage of funds.
The Registrar, Sir Mike Jukwe who made this known noted that while the CRFFN has a patriotic zeal and noteworthy commitment to professionalism in freight forwarding and supply chain management practice in Nigeria, the paucity of funds had however become a debilitating factor, which must be addressed.
“Our challenges are many. One of them is inadequate funding to execute the numerous planned activities of the council to be realised through the lifting of suspension on collection of internally generated revenue which is the transaction fee.
“We are aware that the minister is committed to lifting the suspension and we appeal to him to do so as soon as possible,” he stated, adding that the Council has the capacity, if adequately empowered to repositioned the freight forwarding sector appropriately.
In the meantime, the Federal Ministry of Transport has stated that while it realizes the importance of funding the Council, it was also interested in adopting measures that may not unduly raise the cost of doing business in the port.
According to the Deputy Director, Maritime Services of the ministry, Mr. Patrick Ekawu Odey, who represented the Minister, Senator aIdris Umar, the ministry was already working on modalities on collection of transaction fee by the CRFFN.
He highlighted that the Federal Government attached great importance to human capacity building for the council,, hence government’s plans of pursuing only measures that would not jeopardize the on going effort to further reduce the cost of doing business in the ports, advising the Jukwe to explore area of training as a viable option.
Industry watchers were however of the view that, except great caution was adopted, granting the CRFFN request would surely increase the cost of doing business in the nation’s ports.
“What the Council wants is to be allowed to also enter into the ports and make it’s collection there. Everybody wants to go into the port and collect. and those who are disallowed like the SON wants to stay on the roads very close to the port, waylay containers, and collect. Nobody is truly thinking of the poor ultimate consumer”, Anthony Emeordi, one of the respondents explained.
The Maritime First noted that one the reasons the Council woefully failed in attracting funds was its failure to make its training program, especially the mandatory courses attractive. The result was that the potential ‘students’ shunned it, and the plans to raise funds through it collapsed.