Why CRFFN Should Prioritize Training Nigerian Freight Forwarders – Ezeh

Three keys to keep one prepare
Hon. Princess Chi Ezeh


Hon. Princess Chi Ezeh is the CEO of Muna Sylver Nigeria Limited. She was also recently reelected into the Governing Board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN). In this interview exclusive interview with MMS Plus she reveals how women can be successful in the practice of freight forwarding. Chi Ezeh also speaks on her activities during her first tenure on the CRFFN Governing Board and other salient freight forwarding issues. Enjoy it:

Congratulations on your election into the governing council of CRFFN. You scored the highest vote in an election dominated by men, what does this mean for you and other women in the maritime sector?
Firstly, I would like to thank God for such a privilege to come out as the top candidate with the highest votes. I want to also thank my supporters who came out in enmasse to vote for me despite the stressful voting exercise.

Well, you know the saying that what a man can do, a woman can do even better.
My success is proof to other women that they can also achieve it and even do better. However, this isn’t something to brag about because in the end we are all winners. Those who didn’t score enough votes to get to the CRFFN board can be sure that they have worthy representatives to prioritize the interest of all freight forwarders at CRFFN.
I put in my best during the last administration where I headed the Committee on Registration and we increased the CRFFN register by over 200 percent from about 1,300 to over 4,000 registered members. I didn’t know at that time that people were observing my hard work and diligence. This was what made them to come out in enmasse to vote for me. There’s no magic about it. I’m truly privileged and humbled by the results.
Women who are practicing freight forwarding should aspire to be on the Governing Board of CRFFN because that’s where the policies and decisions regulating the sector are decided.

National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has more seats in the Council. There are concerns that this might spark a rift on the Governing Board and NAGAFF, other associations and independent members may not be able to work together. What’s your view on this?
NAGAFF has cooperation and all-inclusiveness as its watchword. There’s no indication that NAGAFF and other members of the CRFFN wouldn’t collaborate to achieve the best for Nigerian freight forwarders.
Irrespective of the association the members of the governing board represent, the truth is that we are all freight forwarders involved in the same business. We suffer from the same challenges in the ports. Our import or export consignments go through the same port access roads. We all engage the same shipping lines and terminals either at seaports or bonded terminals. We are all also subject to the same fiscal policies and economic issues in the country.
Therefore, it will be a mistake to assume that the members of NAGAFF on the Governing Board of CRFFN is going there to fight for the interest of NAGAFF. We are all there to protect and canvass the interest of freight forwarders. Our mission is to enshrine professionalism among practitioners. We want an efficient and result-driven CRFFN.
One of our goals at the CRFFN Governing Council is to attain a higher level in terms of professionals with a minimum of Diploma and  Bachelor’s degree. We have already made progress in this area in the last administration. Most practitioners were encouraged to obtain their diploma through CRFFN and more will be brought onboard.
Another area where we will focus on is to improve capacity of the frieght forwarders technologically as the industry especially Customs undergoing massive reforms with e-Customs.

There have been several issues in the port especially the recent protest over VIN valuation introduced by customs, what’s your position on VIN and what policies will you suggest for the smooth evacuation of cargoesat the ports?
VIN valuation isn’t a bad policy. It’s one of the best policies in recent times. The problem was that Customs didn’t properly engage practitioners before introduction. VIN is e-valuation which all freight forwarders want but it only worked for new vehicles. The figures inserted in the system were too high for used vehicles as the depreciation for used vehicles wasn’t captured.
We must commend Customs because they have given one month grace period for people to evacuate their vehicles at the ports while they have also been engaging stakeholders on the challenges with the VIN valuation system.
On policies required to ease the movement of cargoes in and out of the port, this something the CRFFN board would address. We aren’t policy makers but we can study the entire business environment and make our findings known at the appropriate time.

The massive votes for you at the CRFFN Elections is an indication that expectations are high from CRFFN members, what’s your message to them?
It’s a new era at CRFFN. The newly elected board members haven’t been inaugurated yet, but I want to assure all freight forwarders that the I will board members are going to work assiduously to achieve a more conducive and efficient system for freight forwarders in Nigeria.
At the board, I will align with other members to ensure that CRFFN enhances the practice of freight forwarding in the country. The emphasis will be on professionalism, transparency and compliance to trade procedures.

What’s your advice to women who think they can’t compete with the men in the freight forwarding sector?
Recently, the world celebrated the International Women’s Day (IWD), and the theme was #BreakTheBias. Nigerian women have already broken the bias in freight forwarding sector as we have top women in the business like myself and many others including my friend who is the Financial Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hajia Bola Muse.
Women should be encouraged to pick a career in freight forwarding.Nigerian women are resilient and industrious. I encourage more women to venture into freight forwarding because there is no bias or perception that this practice should only be carried out by men.

Women are better managers of resources and people. The same level of care and attention to details required for success in the family, to build the homes and nurture children can be applied to frieght forwarding business and it will be successful. I really encourage more women to join this business because it is lucrative and women can be very successful in this practice.

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