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CRFFN: Freight forwarders’ regulator finally gets Governing Council

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CRFFN Crash Training Program: The Issues At Stake!

….As APPA urges support for CPC to protect rights of Nigerian e-consumers***

Rudderless Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria  (CRFFN) on Saturday elected a 15-man Governing Council in Lagos, after running the body, without coherence for more than five years.

The newly-elected CRFFN officials were drawn from the five registered freight forwarding associations, comprising of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarding (NAGAFF), Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA). Others are the National Association of Air Freight Forwarding and Consolidation (NAAFFC) and Association of Registered Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (ARFFN).

The 15 newly elected officials comprised of six each from ÑAGAFF and ANLCA and one each from ARFFN, NCMDLCA and NAAFFC.

They would be joined by 17 government appointees to form the full fledged council which would subsequently guide and administer the body for a four year tenure.

Speaking after the election, the Registrar of CRFFN, Mr Mike Jukwe, urged the freight forwarders to collaborate and work assiduously, in order to speedily take the profession to greater heights.

“Our mandate is to regulate and control freight forwarding in Nigeria; now that we have governing council, policies will be made for the management to execute.

“The policies are geared towards taking the freight forwarding sub sector from where it is to a higher level of best international norms and practices,” Jukwe said, pointing out that the 32-member governing council would elect its chairman and vice chairman among themselves after their retreat in Abuja on July 12.

Also speaking after the election, NAGAFF Founder, Chief Boniface Aniebonam, expressed optimism that the new governing council would sustain and meet up with its mandate.

“This is the first time all the five registered associations are speaking with one voice which would also have positive impact on the council.

“I see the need for all the associations to collaborate because the cooperation led to the peaceful election conducted into the council,” he said.

He urged the newly elected council members to regulate the industry in line with international standards and train operators on the rudiments ot freight forwarding practice.

Henry Njoku, who spoke on behalf of the elected officials, said the governing council would look into the challenges facing the industry and tackle them.

Njoku said that the new council would ensure smooth operations that would enhance the success of Federal Government’s mandate on Ease of Doing Business in Nigerian ports.

Meanwhile, the Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA) has urged the Federal Government and various stakeholders to support the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to protect the rights of Nigerian e-consumers.

The association made the call in a communiqué by the President of APPA, Mr Princewill Okorie, on Sunday in Abuja.
The communiqué was the outcome of the E-Commerce Consumer Protection Forum organised by the association in Abuja.
E-Commerce is a business transaction conducted electronically on the internet and has many advantages compared to conventional methods.
E-Consumers are consumers that transact businesses electronically.
According to Okorie, the derivative principles of state policy in the constitution and the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights give reasons for protecting e-consumers right.
“There have been agitations by consumers, especially those who conduct businesses electronically (e-consumers) on the nature of services they receive from electricity, telecommunication and bank service providers.
“These service providers are in the habit of exploiting consumers thereby abusing their fundamental rights as citizens.
“Also, regulators, rather than protect consumers, connive with service providers to exploit unsuspecting consumers and this should be seen as an affront on government’s determination to protect her citizens and fight corruption.
“Hence, the Federal Ministry of Justice and National Human Rights Commission should support CPC in protecting the rights of Nigerian e-consumers.
Okorie urged CPC to publicise the principles it agreed on with on-line marketers to guide their operations for e-consumers protection and ensure regulators respond to e-consumer offenses.

He also called on CPC to encourage the formation of voluntary consumer groups for consumers’ well-being, as existence of such groups would enhance advocacy for enforcement, monitoring and evaluation of regulators.

He said the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) should set up a committee to take e-consumers enlightenment to all the political wards in the council.

He said AMAC should also generate consumer complaints from the various wards as it concerned electricity, banking and telecommunication to enable CPC resolve the complaints.

“Local Government Councils as the third tier of government closer to the grassroots should hold E-Consumer Protection Forum for their citizens as a strategy to encourage their participation in digital business.

“This will enlighten them on their rights and prevent exploitation and conflict between the citizens and service providers.

“The National Assembly should review the cyber crime and security law 2015, CPC Act 1992, the proposed Critical Infrastructure Bill, Electronic Transaction Protection Bill and Cyber Security and Information Protection Bill.
“They should also review the National internal Security Bill 2009, Electronic Commerce (provision of Legal Recognition) Bill, 2008, Electronic fraud (prohibition) Bill 2008 to incorporate e-consumer protection component.

“The Federal Government on its part should set up E-Consumers Regulatory Policy Enlightenment Committee to monitor regulatory Agencies in power, banking and telecommunication sectors.

“This is to ensure that they comply with consumer enlightenment and regulatory policy enforcement, so that sanctions shall be meted out to those who connive with service providers to short change Nigerian consumers,’’ Okorie said.

 

Maritime

Reps Demand Restructuring Of Terminal Operators, NPA Licensed Agents

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Reps Demand Restructuring Of Terminal Operators, NPA Licensed Agents

 ..Says “Our goal is to effect changes that will restructure and position it to compete in the global space

The House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbour has demanded the restructuring of Terminal Operators and Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) Licensed Agents in the country.

Rep. Nnolin Nnaji, Chairman of the committee, disclosed this at the interactive session with terminal operators and NPA licensed agents in Abuja on Thursday.

“Our goal is to effect changes that will restructure the unique and high-tech sector and position it to strategically compete in the global space.

“This sector is very dynamic and we must constantly review the standards, facilities and operational guidelines to keep pace with its obtainable global best practices,” he said.

The lawmaker reiterated the committee’s readiness to ensure that the sector remained one of the best through appropriate legislation and oversight.

“This is to bequeath to Nigerians, ports and harbours that are properly regulated and better managed for greater efficiency.

“It is important to harmoniously promote the objective of professionalising the modus operandi of this sector to improve our country’s Gross Domestic Product and revenue generation.

“We intend to collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the industry to ensure that appropriate avenues are created for economic development,” he said.

He said the committee was poised to make the ports a hub for better non-oil revenue generation, adding that the house would continue to support total rehabilitation and upgrading of ports, harbours and allied services.

In her contribution, the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, Urunta Chinyere, advised terminal operators to adopt electronic mode of payment.

“This is to reduce human interface in their operations,” the officer said.

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Maritime

SOAN Inaugurates New Leadership, Boosting Hopes Of Crushable Inflation

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SOAN Inaugurates New Leadership, Boosting Hopes Of Crushable Inflation

…Sonny Eja is President, Ekere is 1st Vice President; Iroghama Ogbeifun is Chairman, Technical Committee

When Air Peace made its innocent maiden flight from Nigeria to London on March 30, 2024, the symbolical flight achieved two things: first, it broke the unholy equilibrium fare price amongst available airlines.

Secondly, the gesture sent some powerful signals to the entrenched operators, that a determined indigenous operator has finally berthed; and momentarily, the extortionate fare crashed…! Now, if we should replicate this very gesture in the maritime, with a provision of a ‘national’, but privately run vessels/ carriers, how far or fast would carriage charges crash?

The Air Peace has silently made a deafening statement: no amount of plea would crash prices, except the nation can assertively provide a functional alternative.

The distance between Lagos and London by flight is about 6 hours and 40 minutes. The distance between London and New York by flight duration is 7h 30m. So, how come the cost of flight from Lagos to London is always twice as much, compared to the cost of flight from London to New York…? 

The answer is simple: Nigeria is an orphan, and there is no effective competition to mitigate arbitrariness. In the maritime sector, however, the country’s fate is worse: shippers are paying twice for cargo freight. Same for handling charges. There was even a time they were paying for as ridiculous a charge as the ‘Weekend’ levy, in the event that you are unlucky to come for clearing by weekends!

 The growing inflation, the poor masses albatross is both artificial and conspiratorial!

First, government’s understanding of the industry is warped and its support, insignificant. The Government functionaries who should assist both the shippers and stakeholders were often either insincere, ignorant or easily cave in under politicians’ pressure. 

No one is as hopeful as the hunter’s wife: she knows her husband did not keep any beast in the forest, yet, she joyfully sings lullaby for the baby on the mat, as she washes the soup pot and grinds the pepper, as she awaits the husband’s return! And the hunter never disappoints.

It is in the same spirit, that shippers would tomorrow, celebrate the inauguration of the incoming President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria SOAN, Sonny Eja.

Those who know him at close range described him as a highly focused, truly inspired and totally committed investor, who never disappoints. He is sold to the cause of the shipping industry development. 

Unarguably, he is acknowledged as a resourceful long runner, who often is not only self-motivating, but equally enjoys the special ability to motivate others  Some said it is for this reason that he is so treasured, by the SOAN maiden Arrowhead and Nigeria’s foremost shipping magnate, Engr. Greg Utomwen Ogbeifun.

The President, fortunately, will be fully assisted by tested and trusted ship owners, with enviable skills and technical know-how.. promoters 

These include Dr Louis Ekere as SOAN’s 1st Vice President; Mr. Gbolahan Shaba, the 2nd Vice President; Mr.Babalola Adefariti – Financial Secretary/ Treasurer; Mr. Bem Garba –  Chairman, Training & Capacity building Committee; the shipping industry Amazon, Ms.  Iroghama Ogbeifun as Chairman Technical Committee; Ms. Bassey Adie -Chairman, Ethics & Privileges Committee; and finally, Mr. Emmanuel Okene, who is the Chairman, Finance and membership Committee.

The Doyen of the Maritime industry, High Chief Adebayo Babatunde Sarumi once congratulated SOAN for lifting Nigeria off the lackluster club of 10-Percenters. 

Now, the whole nation would probably look up to SOAN, to midwife a ‘national carrier’ and permanently crash the menace of intractable inflation!

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Maritime

Smugglers Altering Vehicles’ Chassis Numbers–Customs

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Smugglers Altering Vehicles’ Chassis Numbers–Customs

Mr Chedi Wada, the outgoing Comptroller of the Federal Operations Units (FOU) Zone “B”, Kaduna says smugglers are now altering vehicles’ chassis numbers in the bid to perpetuate their nefarious activities.

Wada spoke to newsmen on Wednesday in Kaduna after handing over the leadership of the unit to his successor, Mr  Ahmadu Shuaibu.

He, therefore, underscored the importance of public awareness and compliance with government policies.

Wada reflected on the myriad of achievements and challenges encountered during his tenure.

He commended the resilience of his team in tackling the hurdles posed by nationwide border closures.

According to him, with unwavering support from the Comptroller-General  (CGC), Mr Bashir Adewale, saying that they have successfully curbed smuggling activities within the zone.

He said,  “FOU Zone ‘B’ Kaduna is now well-equipped and effectively managed, marking significant strides during my six-month stewardship.”

Wada acknowledged the pivotal role of the media in showcasing the unit’s efforts while urging the officers to prioritize knowledge acquisition and diligent execution of duties.

He said, “Total commitment and dedication have been the cornerstone of my successes.”

Wada also urged  his colleagues to follow suit,  disclosing that with his redeployment to the NCS Headquarters in Abuja, he will work under the Enforcement, Investigation, and Inspectorate Unit

He also assured of his continued dedication to service, WARING smugglers that his successor is an enforcement expert who is prepared to take charge.

Wada expressed confidence in the incoming comptroller’s abilities to build upon the foundation laid, signalling tough times ahead for the smugglers.

Wada’s redeployment marked the end of his duty of combating smuggling and fostering organizational commitment within FOU Zone “B” Kaduna.

It was reported that until his redeployment, Shuaibu was the Comptroller, Ogun I Area Command, Idi-Iroko. 

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