…Says “We Inherited Over 19 Court Cases
By DAPO OLAWUNI
A member of the immediate past Governing Board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Mr Yinka Bakare has opened up on real reasons why the board could not achieve much during its lifespan.
He lamented that the CRFFN is practically broke without money, and that most time, they borrow money from sister agencies to even hold meetings.
In an exclusive interview with DAILY TREND NEWS on Tuesday, Bakare said that the board was majorly hampered by numerous court cases as well as lack of funds.
Bakare who is the national President of National Association of Airfreight Forwarders and Cargo Consolidators (NAFFAC) said the board inherited over 19 court cases instituted by people to deliberately frustrate Council.
Speaking on cash crunch in the CRFFN, Bakare said the CRFFN does not have any budget for year 2021, adding that the council was not meant to be a government agency, relying on government funding.
He warned that unless CRFFN collects the controversial Practitioners Operating Fee (POF) the Council would not move forward in the next twenty years.
Speaking, he said “People are making a lot of mistakes, the governing council is not the management of CRFFN, the board do not manage the day to day affairs of CRFFN, they only meet once in three months, sometimes we meet once in six months, we are just a policy formulator, ours is to form policy and hand it over to the management to implement”
“Out of the two years that was spent by our administration, one year of it was Covid-19 period, so I don’t know why people are expecting miracle”
“Secondly, majority of us board members spent our money to take flights and hotel bills during this period. When we came in November 2018, the year budget was already out, the 2019 budget was already presented to the house which we had no idea of, when we came in, it has already been passed, we don’t even have Council money inside that budget”
“In most cases, some of the meetings we hold, we had to borrow money from sister agencies.
By the time we entered 2020, it was Covid-19”
Bakare added that the CRFFN has its own management with Directors, running the day to day affair of the council.
He also argued that that two years spent in office by the immediate past board is not enough to evaluate their performance.
Speaking further on the cash crunch in the Council, he said “Sometimes when it is time to pay salaries, it becomes an issue, CRFFN staff do not have imprests and office running expenses, some of them want to go for training but they don’t have that money”
“Whether I go back to the Council or not, if the CRFFN do not collect POF, in the next twenty years they would not move”
“In 2021, the CRFFN does not have a budget. The budget that was being peddled was 2019 -2020, and even this budget was fixed on projects including building of outpost offices, Nationa Institute and so on. The money was not for CRFFN board or staff to spend, and the money was not even being released”
“When CRFFN was being established, it was agreed that they wouldn’t touch government funds, the council is supposed to fund itself”
“I could remember last year, we proposed some amendments and people started shouting that we want to overstay in office.
The amendment itself, we didn’t have money to push it”
“On POF, some people believe that if they are not the ones in the saddle it would not start, all they want to do is to go to court, put a stop to it”
“There was a time we begged some people to withdraw their court cases for lack of basis, some court cases have been existing for the past five years and six years without basis, we begged them to withdraw it so that we can move forward”
“Whenever we make a move, the legal team would tell you that there is a court case so you cannot act.
When we came into office, we had over 19 court cases, and you want us to perform, it is not possible”
“Tenure elongation was not even in the amendment we were pushing for.
“The structure and organogram of CRFFN was not properly stated. The Registrar calls himself the CEO, we don’t have issues with that, but things need to be properly documented. The council is not designed to be a government agency, so, for it to run properly as a government agency, the Act needs to be amended” Bakare said
….TO BE CONTINUED