The multiplicity of associations sharing the same trade skills and purposes has become a major impediment to the growth of several industries. This has seen the beauty and benefits of unity erode the affected industries. In Nigeria, particularly in the maritime sector the problem has led to stagnation in various branches of the industry.
The freight forwarding and Customs brokerage aspect of the Nigerian maritime sector has over five (5) associations with the Association of Nigeria Customs Agents (ANLCA) and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) as the bigwigs.
Following the recent visit of the Association of Nigeria Customs Agents (ANLCA) to Liberia, they observed that Liberia enjoys the full benefits of a unified Custom Brokers Association. The National Custom Brokers Association of Liberia (NCBAL) enjoys the full support and recognition of the Liberian government; with the government willing to sponsor, train and collaborate with the body in order to make the association well positioned to attract more businesses and generate more revenue for the nation.
A top National Executive as ANLCA who pleaded anonymity told MMS Plus that he felt humbled to witness firsthand the benefits the NCBAL enjoys with the Liberian government as a result of the existence of a singular body.
Recently, the Founder of the NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam reechoed the need for unity among the freight forwarding groups.
“If ANLCA and NAGAFF begin to work as responsible partners and colleagues, the port would be more cohesive, NAGAFF is quite large, we have over 4,000 members. The individuals are more prominent and they are regarded as professionals, because the emergence of the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria is to profile professionalism in the Nigerian context, especially as far as logistics management is concerned.”
“The leadership in ANLCA under Prince Olayiwola Shittu is quite awesome, he is somebody that has travelled all over the world and knows what the whole thing is all about. A lot of ANLCA members now understand that there is nothing to really worry ourselves about; the customs law is very clear, their own membership is based on licenses issued by the Customs, NAGAFF on the other hand is total logistics and freight forwarding as a whole. If NAGAFF and ANLCA can collaborate, it would give a better direction in the port.”
Unity remains crucial to the growth and stability of freight forwarding practice in Nigeria. Although there are obstacles that stand in the way of unity, such as organizational differences, political, tribal obstacles, etc. The existence of parallel organizations inevitably leads to organizatory conservatism and to the effort to retain at all costs the existing forms of organizations.
The Nigeria Customs Service has declined to train freight forwarders and agents leading to many problems in the freight forwarding sector in Nigeria. The maritime sector and the nation at large should benefit more from a unified group of freight forwarders.