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CRFFN MUST BECOME MORE DYNAMIC NOW- ANIEBONAM

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… Says Council’s non proactive stance already frustrating NAGAFF

Maritime guru and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) founder, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam do not only love the Council for Regulations of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (CRFFN), he also insists that the NAGAFF has consistently work, in protection of the CRFFN.
… But he warns, in a chat with the Maritime First crew recently, that the Council must stop its foot-dragging, non-proactive stance, otherwise, the NAGAFF may move against Sir Mike Jukwe, the Council Registrar.
Excerpt please:-


 The NAGAFF once, seriously supported the CRFFN in the past. Today, some industry watchers are not so sute again. 
What would you say went wrong? 

A:
You are getting it wrong. The NAGAFF has always been with the CRFFN and we will continue to be with the CRFFN. The CRFFN has always been a baby of NAGAFF. But, first let me take you back a bit, especially to the emergence of CRFFN.

You would recall when Chief Sarumi was the Managing Director of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC); you will recall when NAGAFF hosted ISA BALUCHI, the Vice President of FIATA at the Eko L’e Meridien Hotel.; then I was the President of NAGAFF; 
You would recall when ISAH BALUCHI went to see Ojo Maduekwe, who was then the Minister of Transport. You would also recall the outcome of their meeting, especially on the need for harmonization of various freight forwarding bodies coming out from Nigeria; because FIATA was the global body for the freight forwarders just like you have FIFA for football.

That was how we had gone to the National Assembly because the only way out was to work for an Act of the National Assembly to harmonize all these contesting bodies.

You will also recall that when the bill came up at the National assembly, especially during the public hearing the synergy was quite obvious, certain individuals, groups and organizations who opposed the emergence of the CRFFN.

Then, it was Ernest Elochukwu who was the President of ANLCA.
You would also recall the role Mr. Lucky Amurero played, and several others who opposed the emergence of the Council.
You would also recall that Alhaji SanI Kamba, a former president of ANLCa who also then was a senator of the Federal republic of Nigeria, who came to the public hearing, to indicate that he was there to kill the bill. But, you would also recall that Okuabunwa as the moderator, at the National Assembly told them he was there to make laws, for the good of the greater number of Nigerians and that they were not there to kill bills. You recalled all these and how at the end of the day, the bill became law.

You should also be able to recall the maiden election of the Council; you would recall the bungling of the election processes, whereby only corporate bodies were allowed, to stand in for election.
You should also be able to recall that issues were raised and joined on how the constitution of the Council was incomplete because it had to do be with individuals, corporate bodies and firms or organizations.
But the election was done with only one factor: which was corporate bodies, licensed by the Nigerian Customs.
But you would also recall that the election was rigged by raising factions of corporate bodies, purported to have been registered by the Customs. You would also recall that out of the eight members; seven were ANLCA and only one was from the Airport. Mr. Agubama.

You would also recall that I was the first person as the President of NAGAFF, that extended our hand of fellowship to the winners and we accepted to losing in good fate. You would also recall that the Council took off and paraded themselves as government workers under the Government’s Ministry of Transport, carrying Coat of Arms in their complimentary cards; their Vehicles carried FGN numbers; they were taking money from the Federation Accounts, submitting annual budgeting etc.

You would also recall that I kicked against it and that led to going to court.
You must agree with me that the court came out with the pronouncement that the CRFFN is an arm of the Federal Ministry of Transport.

But, you are also aware that we have gone to the appellate court. We have appealed against that judgment.
Our reasons are very obvious. If the CRFFN is a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Transport, then, of course, the chairman, Board of CRFFN should be appointed by Mr. President.

Similarly, the Registrar of the Council should also be an employee of the Federal Ministry of Transport: but he is an appointed member, appointed by members of the Council.
You would recall that the maiden election members of the relevant agencies including the NPA the Custom etc. were bared from taking part in the election and so on and so forth.

So, right from the public hearing, there had been machinery put in place to put down the Council.

So Jukwe was appointed by the same cabal. But the first Council and the second council have come and gone, and the man in charge is running (the body now) as a Sole Administrator—because election have been due; but election has not been held. And it is unconstitutional!

Let me again tell you, if that is what you want to hear, we cannot kill our own baby.

There are however two legislative instruments: that governs the freight forwarding industry. One is the CRFFN. 
The second is the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) that has to do with the licensing regulations of the licensed Customs clearing agents.

So, if I want to open it up for you to understand, the membership of the Customs licensed agents are at an advantage considering the strategic nature of the customs; as far as moving cargo out of Customs controlled ports are concerned.

In other words, as freight forwarders, you can see what happened at the Airport, where if you are not licensed by the Customs Service, you were bared from going into certain places.

We have provided solution in this regard; in the need for harmonization, of these two regulatory instruments—i.e that CRFFN and the licenses regulations of the Customs under relevant sections, for optimal performance.

So, whatever you see NAGAFF as talking about, it is about safe guarding the CRFFN that seeks to protect the NAGAFF members more.

However, as at now, NAGAFF is getting frustrated, for non-relevant application of the rule of engagement as far as the CRFFN is concerned.

This is 2015; and Jukwe has to move very fast or we do what we know best…

To be continued….

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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