BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
Unapologetic, outspoken and erudite freight forwarder, Chidi Anthony Opara, RFF, FIIM, CDOA, has lamented the inability of freight forwarding practitioners to push for the amendment of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Act, which resolution he said was taken last year by a rainbow of intellectually endowed practitioners.
The former Member, CRFFN’s Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum, noted that whereas the amendment of the CRFFN Act remains critical, he however noted that what is of paramount concern is the alleged violation of the CRFFN Act in respect of the appointment of an ‘Acting Registrar’, which he said is alien to the Act.
In a statement titled Re-Calls For The Amendment Of The Council For The Regulation Of Freight Forwarding In Nigeria (CRFFN)Act, Opara said some freight forwarding associations and individual stakeholders have been calling for the amendment of the CRFFN Act(Act 16 of 2007); noting however that the effort appeared to have been jettisoned owing to alleged narrow considerations.
On the purported violation of the CRFFN Act, Opara said, “There is need for the amendment of the act, but what should be more important to freight forwarding associations as pressure groups and individual stakeholders at this point in time is the need to put legitimate pressures on governmental and non-governmental organizations to strictly adhere to and obey the provisions of the act.
“A situation where individuals and institutions cherry pick which provisions of the act to adhere to/obey, with the freight forwarding associations, who are supposed to be pressure groups and individual stakeholders looking the other way, is not healthy, to say the least.
“Even the agency established by the act, most times, finds it difficult to adhere to/obey the provisions of the act. It only does, when the provisions are favourable to it. The agency for example, recently appointed an “Acting Registrar”, a position not known to the act, when it should have set in motion the appointment of a new Registrar or the reappointment of the existing one whose tenure was about to elapse, few months to the expiration of tenure.”
He continued: “The Registrar incidentally is also statutorily the Secretary of the CRFFN Governing Board. The CRFFN Governing Board for some time now have been holding meetings and taking decisions in such meetings with an “Acting Registrar” featuring as Registrar/Secretary, a clear case of serious violation of a major provision of the act, yet the freight forwarding associations and individual stakeholders are looking the other way while this unhealthy situation is going on.
“Considering the aforementioned unhealthy situation, even if the act is amended, the purposes of the amendment would still be defeated due to the referenced unhealthy situation.”
On the failed recommendation for practitioners to push for the amendment of the CRFFN Act, he said:
“The Communique of the First Freight Forwarders Summit in Nigeria 2022, in which I was the Rapporteur/Spokesperson recommended the merging of freight forwarders associations in Nigeria into an umbrella body “for effectiveness.”
“But due mainly to clout chasing and other selfish reasons, moves for the actualization of this noble recommendation have not even commenced, almost one year since the recommendation was made. It may never commence”, he concluded on a sad note.