CRFFN 2021 budget is superfluous – Olarenwaju, former CRFFN Chairman

Aare Hakeem Olarenwaju, Managing Director, TALOD

The Registrar and Governing Council members of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) have been taken to the cleaner over the gargantuan N2,940, 265,077 budget which they have planned to run the Council in 2021.

To a discerning mind, Otunba Hakeem Olarenwaju, who had served as Chairman of the CRFFN Governing Council in the past, this amount over two billion is superfluous, over-bloated, and way far above that of FIATA’s annual budget, the world parent body of CRFFN.  

According to Olarenwaju, the huge budget, which is a source of free money, has been an attractive factor why everyone struggles to get elected into the Governing Council. “Consequently, the practitioners now find it much rewarding and most profitable to do everything humanly possible to get elected into the Governing Council rather than face its professional practices.”

Otunba Hakeem Olarenwaju, who expressed dismay over the items listed in the budget in an interview with  PortNews in Lagos, noted that experiences have shown that administering a professional body like CRFFN never requires rocket science in terms of massive and over-bloated yearly budgetary as presently obtains.

Going back the memory lane, the former CRFFN Chairman said that approximately the amount used to kick start the administrative life of the CRFFN between the year 2008 to 2012 ( of the first and second Governing Council) was in the average of N200 million to N250 million.

According to him, “out of this approximated amount,  staffs were recruited and salaries promptly paid, official vehicles were purchased,  capacity buildings programs were conducted, membership with FIATA  formalized, office structures were rented across the zones, and operation head offices rented in Lagos and Abuja, international professional exchange programs attended, etc.

‘’As a professional regulatory council, and from what is obtainable elsewhere amongst the comity of freight forwarding nations, we do not really need all these gigantic edifices tagged headquarters and zonal administrative offices and institutes being put in place.

“What governs a professional council is the principle of discipline, transparency, moderation and prudence especially when it comes to financial management, and not the spirit of negligence, squandering and recklessness.”

Otunba Hakeem Olarenwaju said the nature of the budget displays ignorance on the part of the CRFFN leaders, saying that most of the items in the budget do not necessarily require budget allocations as they could be attracted by practitioners from the public in the form of donation.

“Ideally in a viable and competitive freight forwarding profession, most of the said ongoing projects are actually projects that the practitioners through the visionary leadership of the CRFFN can easily attract through international donations via our international participation in the global freight forwarding advancement programs and empowerment schemes.

“In the local front, with an ideal financial administration, these said projects are achievable subject to professional administrative planning, budgeting and execution via visionary leadership.”

Olarenwaju was of the opinion that the CRFFN could be run professionally with yearly income via yearly subscriptions, enforcement of regulatory sanctions, sales of professional publications, Professional levies, donations, corporate brand materials, etc, without necessarily going to the government.

“As a professional council,  we are supposedly careful and conscious to budget and expense in likely equation and correspondence with our yearly income via yearly subscriptions, enforcement of regulatory sanctions, sales of professional publications, Professional levies, donations, corporate brand materials,  etc.

“It is disheartening to note that 12 years after the registration of the CRFFN with the umbrella body, the FIATA, what we can point to the international body, who had concluded a trained the trainer program, followed by the accreditation of Professional training institutions across the geo-political zones of the Nation, is an endless ongoing project of the CRFFN.

“What a shame of a profession, even worse, when we discover that, even the CRFFN yearly budgetary is way far above that of FIATA yearly budgetary, what an irony of Professional inclination. This growing trend is dangerous and a professional albatross has to be stopped.

“In my mind, this is rather a deliberate professional distraction caused by the government. What happens when another government comes to power and discovers that this present trending of setting up edifices which in the future cannot be sustainable,  for prudent  professional practitioners whose activities are service-related  is a mere waste of  public fund?”

Olarenwaju noted that if things were done appropriately, the freight forwarding profession in the country would have taken its prime place. “In due course, we shall institute a process that will engender probity by the concerned authorities.”

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