Amaechi seeks review of freight forwarding bill for best practices

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Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has called for an urgent review of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) bill to improve best practices in the country’s port system.

He stated this at the maiden graduation of over 400 trained professionals in freight forwarding and supply chain management at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) at the weekend.

Amaechi, represented by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, urged the legislature to come forth with a bill to correct some lapses experienced by the industry.

He also urged the graduating students to embrace technological advancement in tackling port issues.

The Registrar, Samuel Nwakohu, stated that the training is to meet the mandate of the Act towards achieving economic growth in the country.

He added that it would upskill the graduands who are already practising, urging them to adopt international best practices on freight forwarding.

In the same vein, the Vice-Chancellor, UNILAG, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, represented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Research, Prof. Familoni Oluwole, applauded the management team for the training, noting that it would breed more professionals in the system.

He said: “Gradually, this training would remove all unlicensed and unrecognised freight forwarders, supply chain managers so that we can have professionals. When people see that it is only those who are regulated that are practising, they will come for training.”

Meanwhile, the Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said that while the domestic freight logistics industry in Nigeria remains highly fragmented, the big-ticket jobs are in the hands of foreign and multinational companies from Europe and Asia.

He said the freight and logistics market in Nigeria has had to grapple with several challenges such as poor hinterland infrastructure, regulatory inconsistencies, insufficient investments and high operating costs, among others.

Bello-Koko said it is no surprise that Nigeria’s ranking in the global Logistics Performance Index is not where it should be, in view of the size and volume of the country’s trade.

The NPA boss frowned at the unhealthy rivalry and acrimony of local practitioners, noting that Nigeria’s economic renaissance depends a lot on the virile and competitive supply chain.

He said it is the responsibility of the freight regulators and practitioners or service providers to rise above operating in a silo and work in unity to grow Nigeria’s freight logistics industry into the best in Africa.

The former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, who was the guest speaker, emphasised professionalising freight forwarding and supply chain management to eradicate quackery and touting in the industry.

He said Nigeria is at a stage of serious regulation, recognition and certification of the profession, especially as freight forwarding is central to Nigeria’s economy in the movement of cargo globally.

“We have to stop the diversification and unserious matters, lawyers don’t have quackery because they are certified, we should have pride in freight forwarding and supply chain management profession so that it becomes standard. There must be international standards and this must apply to Nigeria also,” he said.

On his part, the Commandant Nigerian Navy Finance and Logistics College Owerrinta, Capt. Usman Bugaje commended the CRFFN for its statutory mandate to offer Nigerians training opportunities and regulate the activities of freight forwarders in line with global best practices.

He also commended the council’s support and cooperation in training of Nigerian Navy middle-level management logistics officers, noting that the training would help in improving the skills, competence and professionalism of the officers, as they would be more relevant in the maritime sector even after retirement from active service.

Bugaje, however, urged the council to extend the training to more Nigerians in order to enhance employment opportunities in the maritime sector, which he said would have a positive impact on the economy of the country.

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