…Moves to Maximize AfCFTA benefit for Freight Forwarders
Chairman Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar has said there is an urgent need to upgrade mobile infrastructures in the maritime industry if transporters, freight forwarders must take advantage of the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA)
Already, Tsanni said the Council is in discussion with the Nigerian Shippers Council to ensure that Nigerian freight forwarders are allowed to practice in order African countries in line with the AFCFTA agreement.
Tsanni spoke on Friday in Apapa Lagos when he chaired a conference tagged “Maximizing Benefits of Intra African Trade Under AfCFTA Regime” organised by The Journal Magazine of Energy and Freight.
He said that under the AFCFTA regime, trucks and tankers from outside Nigeria may have cause to be coming to Nigeria in increased volume, saying that Nigerian truck owners must not lose sight of the market
He warned that unless Nigerian transporters upgrade their trucks and tankers, foreigners would overrun them with better vehicles and send them out of business under the AFCFTA implementation.
According to him “Three good vehicles on a fleet will do better than having ten rickety and inefficient vehicles that put lives in danger, delay consignments on transit and worsen the perennial gridlock government is trying hard to resolve”
“I wish to advise owners of unserviceable vehicles coming to our ports and land borders to consider forming partnerships among themselves to dispose the many bad vehicles for few newer and better ones”
“Do not expect patronage of your rickety vehicles just because you are a Nigerian. Owners of consignments who want their goods to arrive warehouses in good time may very likely not look at the nationality of truck ownership”
Tsanni assured that CRFFN is fighting to ensure Nigerian freight forwarders are not prevented from practicing in other countries in order to harness benefits of AfCFTA
He observed that Nigerian business environment has been too liberalised, a situation whereby non Africans are allowed unfettered access to clearing of cargoes from Customs control, while same benefit is not extended to Nigerians abroad.
According to him “This development contradicts the principles of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which seeks amongst other things, to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers and sustaining reciprocal advantages among trading countries”
Tsanni assured that CRFFN will continue to liaise with government and across the border authorities to ensure that the AfCFTA is not further used to undermine Nigerian freight forwarders.
Speaking, he said “We in CRFFN as regulators are making conscious efforts to improve on the quality and standards of Nigerian freight forwarders”
“We shall pursue and ensure that the Nigerian freight forwarder is not unduly prevented by their peers in other countries by promoting their unfettered access to businesses outside the shores of Nigeria within the ambit of African Continental Free Trade Agreement”