The Nigerian freight forwarders has been urged to study all relevant sections from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) before the commencement date .
They were tasked to draw their roadmap for the future as the Agreement is set to commence in March, 2020.
The Chairman, Maritime Studies, UNILAG gave the charge on Tuesday during his lecture at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) in Lagos.
While reiterating the benefits of the Agreement, Professor Oni said that it is not all nations that sign the agreement that will benefit equally adding that only those who are prepared that will gain more.
In the same vein, he maintained that freight forwarders must equip themselves if they do not want to be left behind in the AfCFTA regime.
He admonished the practitioners to study and understand the Agreement and the operations of single window imperatives.
The professor said “Since almost all countries in Africa are coming in stream in this Agreement, freight forwarders should start studying and identifying which countries they have comparative and competitive advantage with that they can hook up with easily.
“They should start brokering partnership in these countries and start pilot or trial business schemes in anticipation to the full-scale operations of the AfCFTA in 2020.
“As operations, plan and position for these giant strides by the African Union to boost economic activities in the continent, the spirit is for you to rise above local challenges, develop adequate capacity for continental and global competition,” he stated.
According to the erudite transport Professor, benefits of the regime will accrue to countries and individuals that are well equipped.
He also posited that welfare benefits from lower import prices, production efficiency and increase in outputs will offer more jobs to the freight forwarders.
Founder of NAGAFF ,Dr. Boniface Aniebonam urged members of the association to acquire knowledge at all cost.
He said: “What I charge all of you is to abide with the law, never go against the law, but be fearless. You will attain the greatness you desire”.
” NAGAFF Members trained so far are more daring and determined”.
He added that: ” NAGAFF people, go back and read, acquire skills and knowledge, this is the yardstick for concluding the movement ahead of us”.
He noted that’:’ You are at liberty to upgrade yourself, because soonest, diploma degree will be the minimum qualifications for practice as a Freight Forwarder”.
On his part, Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shipper’s Council, Barrister Hassan Bello who was honoured by the association in commemoration of the freight forwarders day celebration, said the council would continue to partner with the association to further professionalise sub sector.
Bello was represented by Deputy Director ,Monitoring and Enforcement of the council, Mrs Celine Ifeora.