The African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria has blamed the absence of substantive governing council for the Council of Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria for the difficulty in collecting the Practitioners Operating Fee.
CRFFN, on Monday, March 1, 2021, commenced the collection of the POF, one year after its flag off in Lagos. With the advent of POF, a 20ft container is expected to pay N1,000 while 40ft container is to pay N2,000.
In a chat with newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday, March 9, the President of APFFLON, Frank Ogunojemite, explained that though the POF was not a bad concept, the matter was still before the National Asssembly and yet to be ratified.
Ogunojemite explained that the tenure of the immediate past governing council members expired in November last year, noting that only the registrar could be in charge of the collection.
“If eventually POF needs to be collected, they must call for the election of board members. In fact, it is so sad that after the tenure of the immediate past governing council members, there is a gap. There must be an interim board to oversee this collection,” he said.
On why the group is standing against the collection of the fee, he said, “There is a lot of allegations of financial impropriety against the Registrar of CRFFN; he should come out and clear himself on these allegations. So, those were the reasons we are standing against the collection of POF at the moment.”
When reminded that the Registrar is the Chief Executive Officer of the Council, who can administer the Council with his management, with or without the Governing Council, he said the group was unhappy with the way the Council was politically highjacked.
His words, “Obviously, the CRFFN itself must involve the freight forwarders to run its affairs. So, politically hijacking the ,Council is something we are not happy with and that is what is bringing about the resistance that you just mentioned.
“Why are they giving them budget when they want to collect POF? And under the budget, money is allocated for freight forwarders’ training; what have they done for the freight forwarders? Part of their function is capacity building of freight forwarders, training and re-training. Tell me, how many of those trainings have they carried out within the last two years and half that they have been in operation?”
Ogunojemite lamented that CRFFN was only accumulating demurrage for operators.
“The collection is not ongoing; they are only accumulating rent and demurrage for practitioners at the ports. The fact of this case is that we are helpless in this country and we do not know where to channel our cries to.
“We are not saying that POF will not be collected, but there must be clarity as to the purpose of the collection and what to be done with it because the budget given to the Council has not been effectively implemented.
“Does the Nigerian Bar Association tax lawyers on number of cases that they did? Does the Nigeran Union of Journalists tax newspapers on the number of adverts they publisheed? So, levying us on number of containers we clear amounts to multiple taxation. So, that is why we called for clarity on this. POF should be collected, but not on all containers,” he added.
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