Francis Ezem

The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria CRFFN has expressed deep satisfaction with the progress made so far with the collection of the Practitioners Operating Fee POF, about five days after commencement of collection.

Meanwhile, National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA, Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike has given reasons why the association is in full support of the collection of the fee after several years of postponements, insisting that it is for the general good of the freight forwarding sub-sect of the shipping industry.

Recall that the CRFFN had kicked off the fee collection on February 3, 2020 in all seaport locations in the country as well as Abuja, the nation’s capital city amid fears and speculations that there might be hitches, especially given internal wrangling among the practitioners that stalled its collection for more than five years.

Under the new payment regime, practitioners are expected to N1, 000 per ton of wet/bulk cargo, N1, 000 and N2, 000 on 20foot and 40foot containers respectively. Importers of vehicles will also pay N1, 000 on each car they import and N2, 000 on trucks, buses and other big vehicles.

National President of ANLCA, Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike

Chairman of the Governing Board of the CRFFN, Abubakar Tsanni, who spoke in a telephone interview, disclosed that the collection of the fee kicked off effectively on February 3, 2020 as earlier scheduled in the designated locations and that the process has been seamless and orderly.

He also disclosed that the council is putting finishing touches to plans to officially lunch the fund next week, barring any last minute change in the scheme of things.

According to him, the fears and anxiety raised initially in some quarters that the collection of the levy might affect smooth port and cargo operation were unfounded, adding that he had always assured everyone that the process would be smooth and seamless.

“We’re happy and excited that the process is smooth and seamless because we also do not want anything that would inhibit effective port operations. So far, the process has been hitch-free and hopefully, we will officially launch the fund next week”, he said.  

Meanwhile, the ANLCA President, who also spoke in an interview in Lagos, insisted that there was need to support the CRFFN so that it does not die due to paucity of funds, insisting that the council needs a lot of financial resources to carry on with its statutory mandates, which it lacks currently.

According to him, among the statutory functions of the council is to train and build capacity for the freight forwarders and other practitioners, which require a lot of money whether local or foreign.

He also recalled that as the pioneer chairman of the Governing Board of the council, the CRFFN was for the first few years of its existence dominated by members of ANLCA, which makes them see it as part and parcel of the association and thus the need to see it succeed, adding that the payment is only N1, 000 per 20 foot and N2, 000 for 40foot container, which is insignificant.

The ANLCA-boss however noted that it was one thing for the council to collect the POF and another to judiciously use it for the reasons the levy was created in terms of training and capacity building, among others, but insisted that there was need to give the council benefit of the doubt.

“I’ll give you some reasons why we support the levy and urge others to do same; the CRFFN is our (the freight forwarders) baby  and so it must not die. It needs funds to survive and so we have to pay. Secondly, if we’re asking the council to train us and build capacity, we must be willing to contribute our little quota.

“All of us in ANLCA see the council as an extension of the association because we dominated the first and second board and management of the council then and that is why association has mandated all of us to pay the money but in doing all these, we urge judicious use of the funds for the purpose for which it was created, which will greatly improve the lots of the freight forwarding practice in Nigeria”, Iju Nwabunike also said.