Rail Construction Projects: FG Denied Us Access to 40% Freight Component—Ex-CRFFN Chairman

…Says Nigerian Freight Forwarders were Sidelined In Clearing Project Cargo

By DAPO OLAWUNI

Even as the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in the last five years embarked on construction of rail lines across Nigeria, former Chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Aare Hakeem Olanrewaju has said that no single Nigerian freight forwarder participated in clearing of the project cargoes.

Olanrewaju in an interview with DAILY TREND NEWS on Wednesday said the 40% freight component in the rail contract ought to have been given to Nigerians under the Local Content Law, but that the contract was given out to foreigners.

According to the ex-CRFFN boss, there are lots of employment opportunities wasting away in the freight forwarding sector, but Nigerian freight forwarders are not accessing it. He lamented that most of the project cargoes are being handled by Chinese and other foreigners.

Aare Olanrewaju however blamed lack of experience and education by Nigerian freight forwarders as the main reason why most of them could not clinch government contract.

“There are lots of employment opportunities wasting away in the freight forwarding sector, but we are not accessing it, there are lots of ongoing project under President Muhammadu Buhari, for example, in the railway project, how many freight forwarders are involved? The Chinese have taken over the total packaging of the job, and you cannot blame them”

“It is because most Nigerian freight forwarders are not trained, freight forwarders are not involved in many of the project in Nigeria, it is the foreigners that are benefitting, if you look at the contract package, they have included the freight, transportation and warehousing and so on, all these are supposed to be separated and paid locally”

“The Chinese would repatriate these monies back to their countries, and they would now give peanuts to Nigerians to clear the cargo for them at the port”

“Any contract issued in Nigeria, whether as federal government or state government, it has 40% freight component, but freight forwarders are not allowed to access this moneys, you begin to ask yourself, what is the interplay between the Cabotage Law and the Nigerian Local Content Development Board.
Our local content law in Nigeria is off” he said

Aare Olanrewaju also lambasted the current governing board members of the CRFFN, saying that since they came into office, they have never conducted training for freight forwarders.

He said all the CRFFN governing council members were interested in is to collection money from the port.

He urged the Federal Government to stop allocation of huge budgets to the council, and should rather focus on training of freight forwarders.

“I did not say that government should stop funding the council, but when the government is funding the Council, they should ensure accountability of the money they were giving to the council, and not just repetition of same budget”

“They should stop building edifices for us that we do not need, what we need is training, there are people that are accredited to train, freight forwarding is an international business” he said

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