Again Aare Olarewaju writes Transportation Minister
Says Financial Patronage Destroying Associations
…Warns Against Non-professionals, 6:6:1:1:1 Formula in CRFFN Election
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
As the election process into the governing council of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) kicks off today, the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi has been asked to take a bold decision to right all that is wrong in the process and not pretend that he is unaware of the various constitutional infractions and fraudulent compromises that has trailed his eight years supervision of the CRFFN.
A former Chairman, Governing Council of CRFFN, Aare Hakeem Olanrewaju Rff who gave the charge in a statement made available to our reporter also warned that continued financial patronage of accredited associations will continue to aid the erosion of professionalism, even as he urged the minister to reverse the inclusion of non professionals from taking part in the election, a development he say is been subtly encouraged by the transportation ministry.
The former governing council chairman also tasked Amaechi to distance himself and the ministry from the fraudulent and preposterous 6:6:1:1:1 governing council membership sharing formula amongst accredited associations as an act of controversial compromise in the election.
Aare Olarewaju said posterity will not forgive the minister or stakeholders who elect to keep quiet in the face of the emasculation of professionalism and ongoing electoral frauds ; even as he took a jab at the minister for his seeming disinterest in gender balancing in the affairs of the CRFFN.
According to him, his second open letter to the minister is for posterity and record purposes. The statement reads:
“I have cause to write this second press release for the attention of the Hon Minister of Transport, Rt.Hon. Rotimi Amaechi; putting it on record, by so doing.
“I do so because, I know too well the level of commitments, selfless sacrifices deployed to attain the milestone achievements recorded by the members of the 1st & 2nd Governing Council , stating so in my capacity as the formal Governing Council first Vice Chairman in the first Governing Council and Chairman of the second Governing Council of the CRFFN.
“Neither conscience nor posterity will be fair to me, to witness the way and manner our professional essence (i.e. the regulatory council) is drifting at an alarming speed and state, and to keep mute and watch in the face of thriving professional recklessness and impunity to say the least, will amount to leadership failure on my path.”
He proceeded to highlight some of the contending issues into two broad category which includes Causes Of A Seeming, Endless Rancour Amongst The Practitioners and Noticeable Signs Trailing The Dangerous Trends Caused By The 35% Revenue Allocation To The Accredited Associations By Official Regulatory Amendments.
On the issue of 6:6:1:1:1 sharing formula, he said, “Let me put it on record that the persistent clamour by accredited associations in their 6:6:1:1:1 sharing formula quests over and in preference to a credible professional electioneering process will continue to be a disservice to professionalism.
“The 6:6:1:1:1 sharing formula stems from the following background and contemplations: during the first governing council tenure, pursuance to section 6(2c), we made a regulation – 2010 (Annual Subscription & Other Fees). In this regards, the practitioners transaction fee (PTF) later rechristened as the Practitioners operating fees – (POF) was regulated accordingly.
“The Fee was aimed to rapidly develop and galvanize the freight forwarding profession and to place it on the global map, especially so among the comity of professionalize freight forwarding nations. To this extent, it was resolved that, the accredited associations will receive a yearly subvention (subject to the CRFFN management), for the sole aim of training programs ( capacity building).
“The subvention disbursement will be effected with consideration to respective associations’ numerical strength and spreads across the operational zones. And such subvention is subject to yearly retirement and auditing by the CRFFN auditors , this was agreed on, in order to foster and integrate the culture of both professionalism and accountability amongst the freight forwarding accredited associations.
“Surprisingly, when there was no constituted governing council in place, the formal registrar in collusion with some ministry staffs and associations leaders, went from the behind on the 26th day of February, 2015 and amended the provisions of section 9(1) of the above regulations 2010, with a caveat which reads thus:
“CRFFN collects 60% as Internal Generated Revenue ( IGR), the Associations will collect 35% as provided by the CRFFN Act ( Accreditation of Associations of Freight Forwarders) Regulation -2010. The Registered Freight Forwarders/License Customs Agent ( RFF/LCA) is entitled to the 5% of the practitioners operating fee, which will be collected by the CRFFN and remitted to the concerned RFF/LCA”. ( Please see a copy of the said amendment under the third schedule as attached).
The respected freight forwarder said at no time did the Accreditation of Associations of Freight Forwarders – regulation 2010 “contemplated nor contained such dangerous tends except perhaps to state the obvious suspicious, that the said regulation might have been manipulated by the magic hands of the promoters.
“May I at this juncture implore the Honorable Minister to use his good office to avert looming professional chaos ahead, talking in the realm of futuristic. Analysis of vested interests in the 35% yearly income allocation to the association will be articulated and forwarded for your attention, after investigation.”
He lamented that rather than provide regulation for members and practitioners, through loss of moral authority arising from official compromises, the reverse has been the case under the watch of the current transportation minister, where the regulated has arrogantly taking over the regulator’s driver seat, foisting personal selfish decisions on the throat of practitioners, the ministry with its agency (CRFFN).
“The crux of the matter revolves around this premise, leading to the rampant press fires works, the deliberate insistence, resistance and subtle threats and refusals by the leadership of the accredited associations to any suggested or reasonable professional approach in matter of election, etc originates and revolves around these financial interests.
“Let it be put on record that, the only time the accredited associations would be considered and deems fit for an administrative fee of 2 % of total CRFFN yearly income generation is when the CRFFN would have successfully accredited up to 10 associations (to represents all the professional areas of specialties ), then it puts up a 10 years seal for further associations accreditation.”
Aare Olarewaju explained that it is only then that the 10 accredited associations can transmute into the Nigeria Federation of Freight Forwarding Association, which he said is pending for official gazette; and which will be seconded to represent Nigeria in the global regulatory body FIATA and change the prevailing status quo, where the CRFFN is holding brief for Nigeria’s presence in the FIATA register.
Addressing the issues of his observations about the perceived dangerous trends caused by the 35% revenue allocation to the accredited associations by official regulatory amendments, he said:
“Association Owners/Leadership Resorts to Selects Forwarders that are royal to them, as was reported that, some of them co-opted and compelled some of their members to pay millions of naira in other to secure their nomination ticket to represent their Associations in the Governing Council. Few of them in their open remarks taunted that, there is always a return on investments.
“The registration of non practitioners as mercenaries merely for winning elections negates the provisions of item i to iii of the CRFFN Act as published. The Non application of the said provisions during registration exercise, prompted by an election into the Governing Council and non publication of true, verified and certified active practitioners; deregister notice and lists of non compliant practitioners ahead of an electioneering process is a deliberate compromise.”
He also argued that it is an act of deliberate compromise for the CRFFN “to designate its registration portal (for both new membership and annual subscription registration activities) to an interested party (association Secretariat) during an electioneering process, whereas the CRFFN has a conducive and functional office complex in Lagos and other zones.”
Aare Olarewaju traced the origin of the default to the 2012 governing council election, noting that for the Amaechi to turn his eyes the other way and pretend not to notice this anomaly is a contradiction of the change mantra of the government in which the minister is an inner caucus player.
“As at 28th January, 2012, out of the over 5,000 application uploaded into the CRFFN portal, a total number of 1,435 Individual Membership and 445 Corporate membership and 2 freight forwarding associations were duly verified/ accredited, inducted and certificated ( counter signed by me), at the maiden induction of freight forwarders held at the main auditorium, University of Lagos, Akoka on Saturday 28th January, 2012, thereby marking the formal establishment of the Register of Freight Forwarders for onward administration.
“ It was also reported that, soon after the election, the registers of freight forwarders drops drastically, on account of non annual subscription in the subsequent years, till another election year, leading to membership data fluctuation, inconsistency and poor data keeping with regards to “real time comprehensive register of freight forwarders” that can be presented or accessible at any given time. This is an outright abuse of professional regulation and maintenance of professional register.”
According to the ex-council chairman, the violations of the electoral guidelines have been with the deliberate connivance of those presently running CRFFN.
“Item ‘1a to c’ above is evidently compromised, when and where the CRFFN management failed to control the internal crisis still lingering in one of its supposed regulated, accredited association. The present scenario in the industry, suggests that, the regulated now decides the future of the regulator, this is a sorry state, as there is no end to this scenario, especially so in the face of the electioneering process and setting.
“The present scenario in the industry suggests that the regulated now decides the future of the regulator, this is a sorry state, as there is no end to this scenario, especially so in the face of the electioneering process and setting.
“I urge the Hon Minister to settle down and take a second look at the electioneering process, otherwise, it will be regarded as looking the other way when so many compromises and issues are going wrong with the agency under your supervision.
Looking the other way or feigning ignorance of it will be tantamount to official nonchalance towards the freight forwarding profession which will be premised or construed as your lack of knowledge of the roles and importance of the freight forwarding profession.”
He lamented the avoidable delay in registering qualified associations and warned that the present lackadaisical official attitude by the ministry and CRFFN may lead to industrial unrest at the point stakeholders cannot continue to accept the systemic distortions and rip off.
“As presently constituted the number of unaccredited associations by the CRFFN is far greater than the 5 accredited associations, and under such arrangements, industrial peace cannot be easily guaranteed. It was for the avoidance of these dangerous trends and for reasons of fostering adherence to professional conducts and integrity that the first and second governing council leadership was very careful with this type of financial patronages to associations.
“Mostly so, because the possibility of the unaccredited associations coming together to join issues with the CRFFN management may be likely, hence, the need to nurture regulation that will engender industrial peace, other than sacrificing the peace we so much canvassed on the altar of poor regulatory efficiency, thereby leading to further setbacks.”
On gender balancing in the management role of the council Olarewju said, “On a lighter note, I must also emphasis here, that the role of women in a professional governing council leadership cannot be over emphasized. As such the minister is hereby encouraged to emulate the former minister, Yusuf, who in making his appointment included reasonable number of women into the Governing Council, during the first and second governing council.
“Under your watch from 2018 to date, only 2 women are seen contesting an election, while the aspect of increasing women inclusion by appointment seems not encouraging.”