NAGAFF @ 23: Freight Professionals Harp On Training For Members
The founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Dr Boniface Aniebonam has stressed the need for freight forwarders to undergo training and education in order to imbibe professional practices needed in both sea and air logistics of cargo and supply chain.
He stated this during the 23rd anniversary of NAGAFF held in Apapa, Lagos Thursday, last week
Aniebonam noted that freight forwarding is key to any national economy, thus freight forwarders must acquire the knowledge to perform their roles.
In his words, ”Freight forwarding is the artery of the economy. Shipping is a derived demand looking at the whole gallant logistics platforms and the coordinating agency is the freight forwarder, so it is key to national development and economy. That’s why we emphasize the issue of education in terms of having the knowledge to carry out such a huge responsibility.
Aniebonam also showcased his disapproval of the status of port operations in Apapa Port and the Lekki Deep Seaport without rail connectivity. He said: “The port management is trying to do a call up system now, something we talked about 16 years ago. Where do you start? Look at our bridges; articulated vehicles have used our bridges for parking lots. Apapa is supposed to have at least a minimum of 8 lanes but nothing is done. What happened to the design of the Lekki Deep Seaport? It should have accommodated rails to take out these cargoes. That is the problem our roads are having because the pressure is so much on it. It is still not late; there is nothing the government cannot do. I just hope we get it in 2023 because I would be involved in the administration”.
The president, NAGAFF,Mr Tochukwu Ezisi narrated the progress NAGAFF has made in training and professionalizing every freight forwarder in the association.
“This is 23 years of struggle and liberation. It is a liberation struggle which has been on for 23 years and I stand here today to tell you that thousands of freight forwarders have been liberated from this struggle through the hard work of NAGAFF.
Let me mention here that the yearning for professionalism, training and academic excellence by the visionary funder of NAGAFF Dr. B.O Aniebonam who also doubles most expectedly as the inaugural National President of the Association led to the establishment of a training arm of the association known as NAGAFF Academy in 2001 which heralded a revolution in academic pursuit of great number of freight forwarders, shipping company members of staff and the port users.
“Also worthy of mention is the establishment of the NAGAFF Cargo Watch on Television and later on Radio one 103.7. Cargo Watch has helped in a tremendous way in the dissemination of information, education and across fertilization of ideas, highlighting challenges of cargo clearance at our various ports and borders with the singular aim of promoting compliance with trade rules and trade facilitation”, said Ezisi.
Ezisi implored Nigerians to embrace export business in order to aid economic diversification and surmount the challenges of the high exchange rate.
“Freight forwarding as a business has a lot to do with the economy. If you look at what is happening. The high rate of the Dollar is affecting everything in Nigeria. It affects the freight forwarder the most. We are going into export now, the more we export, you would see the dollar crashing down and we would have an enormous return. We are doing more of importation, freight forwarding is not all about imports; it’s a logistics chain,” Ezisi said.
On his part, the president, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA), Tony Nwabunike who lauded the sterling achievements of NAGAFF acknowledged that NAGAFF has made helped in professionalizing the freight forwarding business.
He a beckoned on all freight forwarders to undergo training to avoid being compelled to stop doing business
In his words: “ANLCA and NAGAFF have a symbiotic relationship and going forward, our relationship transcends ordinary association. It is on this table that I got to know that NAGAFF Institute has not been registered; I am privileged to be the chairman of the education committee. I traveled far to the North and East when we were actually accrediting all these institutions and I know that none has beaten NAGAFF in terms of quality education. I am surprised that it has not been registered. Going forward, NAGAFF Institute must be registered by 2023. If you are practicing as a freight forwarder and you are not trained with a minimum of diploma by the end of 2023, you would not be able to practice again except you are touting; our enforcement would be in the port, to start arresting any touts. In view of that go back to NAGAFF to ensure you are trained”.
The Registrar, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria(CRFFN),Sam Nwakohu ,highlighted the essence of freight forwarders to leverage on technology to upscale their profession. He advised, “In terms of leveraging technology for the purpose of advancing professionalism, for me, training and retraining is a roadmap to leveraging technology for the purpose of advancing professionalism. For example During COVID 19, we were all stock at home, people were not allowed to do certain things but through the use of zoom and other media processes, we were able to deliver lectures, we were able to train freight forwarders and we would continue to do that now that COVID is largely abated.
“We are developing synergies with other stakeholders that are competent in the supply chain to ensure that our people receive this education at a very minimal cost if not zero. Do not forget the word ‘professionalism’, we would pursue it to the last end, we would pursue it until the youngest freight forwarder becomes professionalized”, Nwakohu added.
In attendance at the event include: Prof Iyiola Oni, University of Lagos who gave a lecture on the theme ‘’Good Governance: A Road Map To National Development”; Secretary General New Nigeria People’s Party , Mr Dipo Olayoku; Guber Candidate, Lagos State NNPP, Alhaji Jim-Kama Olarewaju Olalekan; Captain of Industry, Dr Sir Darlington Nwabunike; Rector, Institute of Transport and Management Technology, Dr Mrs Lilian Chibor; Guber Candidate Labour Party, Mr Gbadbo Rhodes-Vivour; Guber Candidate Peoples’ Democratic Party; Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran