By Chidi Anthony Opara,FIIM
(More importantly, does the Minister know that a stark illiterate (name withheld because of litigation) was one of the graduands he was addressing?)
The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was quoted by news media reports as saying that the freight forwarding subsector in Nigeria is changing for the best.
The Minister, whose Ministry supervises the Council For The Regulation Of Freight Forwarding In Nigeria (CRFFN) was reported to have made the statement at the graduation ceremony of some four hundred graduands at the University of Lagos on 27th November, 2021, who participated in CRFFN’s less than one month crash program which CRFFN runs in collaboration with the University of Lagos.
The statement from the Minister is a testament to how government works in this part of the world, where government officials put mostly incompetent loyalists in strategic positions, sit back in their cosy offices and make important decisions with skewed data provided to them by these loyalists.
This scenario also played out when the CRFFN management gave the Minister wrong information, resulting in him(Minister) convincing the Executive Council Of The Federation to approve the collection of Practitioners Operating Fees(POF) on cargoes leaving the ports, these cargoes belong to importers who have nothing direct to do with CRFFN. Problems arising from this POF matter is still largely unsolved.
If the Minister under reference had bothered to do fact finding from active practitioners(not those who hang around his office), he would have found out that about 80% of freight forwarding practitioners in Nigeria are not registered. That 90% of those registered does not pay their annual dues because as they rightly say, CRFFN contributes nothing to help them practice. He would have noticed that the only and the last identification card issued by CRFFN expired in 2013. He would have noticed that the CRFFN have recorded zero percentage in responses to the problems facing registered Freight Forwarders, etc.
The CRFFN management is not known to have managed its statutory financial allocations well, the Registrar was recently investigated for financial improprieties, the report of the investigation was forwarded to the Minister, to date, the Minister have not taken definite action on the report, he is rather threatening to dissolve the entire CRFFN management, whose members are pushing for the implementation of the report, is that moving forward for the best?
Does the Minister know that the crash program course for which the so called graduation was held is supposed to be part of a continuous professional development program and not a “minimum entry qualification”? Does the Minister know that the less than one month crash program costs nearly half a million naira? Does the Minister know that the crash program does not run in all the locations where freight forwarders practice? More importantly, does the Minister know that a stark illiterate (name withheld because of litigation) was one of the graduands he was addressing?
The freight forwarding subsector in Nigeria will continue to go down, if the Minister would be sitting in his cosy office and only relied on skewed data from his incompetent loyalists at CRFFN and the Minster would continue to make the type of misleading statement under reference here.
Thank you all for your time.
(Opara is a registered Freight Forwarder, former member of CRFFN’s Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum, IIM Professional Fellow, MIT Chief Data Officer Ambassador and Founder/Publisher, www.publicinformationprojects.org)