CRFFN to restore indemnity for Nigerian Freight Forwarders
By Dapo OLAWUNI
LAGOS-The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has said that it is coming up with a standard trading condition (indemnity) that will guide freight forwarders in their operations with their importers, with the Nigerian Customs Service, the banks as well as in other transactions they engage in at the port.
The Registrar of the CRFFN, Sir Mike Jukwe disclosed this in Lagos earlier today when he and other delegates from the council visited the headquarters of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) on a working visit.
Sir Jukwe complained that Nigerian freight forwarders over the years have always been held responsible for the actions or inactions of the importers as regards to bringing in dangerous goods into the country, this according to him is an anomaly because freight forwarders do not always have knowledge of the act.
Even though they facilitate revenue generation in Nigeria and as such are partners with the customs in earning money for the country, Jukwe wondered why the customs indemnity form which was formally issued to freight forwarders by the customs service is no longer in practice and stressed that, they are now left with nothing to guide and protect them.
He however assured that by May 2012, the indemnity for freight forwarders will be reinstalled saying that “we are coming up with a standard trading condition that will guide your operations with your customers and with the customs, and even with the agents at the banks, because often times when an importer erred, agents who are the middle men between the importer and the customs, are arrested and the importer and his accomplice goes free”
“By the time the standard training condition is out all these will be taken care of, once you are going into any business, It will be stated on your letter headed paper that all your transactions is guided by the standard training condition which is available on request, it is now left for your customers to ask for it and be satisfied with it before he goes into business, because if anything goes wrong, you are guided by this trading condition” he assured the ANLCA members.
Presenting the maiden register of freight forwarders to the president of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, Sir Jukwe said that as at 28th January 2012, only 1,435 individuals and 405 corporate members were registered into the council and that anyone whose name is not on the register is operating illegally and that by the time CRFFN enforcement swings into action they will be prosecuted.
On the part of the associations he explained that only two associations have been accredited, the ANLCA and NAGAFF.
He advised unregistered freight forwarders who are still parading the port to endeavor to register with the council because according to him, by 15th of March 2012, the register will go before the National Assembly and the Minister of Transport from where it will be gazetted.
“Once it is gazetted, we are forwarding it to the comptroller general of custom through the honorable minister of transport and minister of finance, and once your name is not there, your license will not be renewed or issued, according to section 19 of the CRFFN act”
He also pointed out that the council has already gotten approval of some institutions in Nigeria to offer freight forwarding as a course.
Speaking earlier, the National President of the Association of Nigerian License Customs Agents, Prince Olayiwola Shittu informed the CRFFN registrar that the International Federation of Customs Brokers Association (IFCBA) also known as ‘the world customs brokers organization’ has granted the association full membership and has equally extended it an invitation to participate in its bi-annual world conference in Athens, Greece from May 8-11, 2012.
Prince Shittu also appreciated the efforts of the CRFFN in seeing to the early take-off of the “Nigerian Institute of Certified Customs Broker” which is a brain child of ANLCA. “When fully operational, the training and re-training of our members and outsiders in all aspects of customs brokerage practice will be enhanced” he assured.
Continuing, Prince Shittu pleaded with the CRFFN boss to facilitate the payment of a percentage of annual subscription fees of all registered freight forwarders back to ANLCA by the government as yearly subvention, and “the categorization of freight forwarders into their specialty areas like customs broker instead of the present generic arrangement of tagging all freight forwarders without specialty”