The immediate past Vice Chairman of Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Dr. Sam Chidinma Onyemelikwe has warned practitioners to stop equating the Council to a government agency, saying that the CRFFN is not designed to be a parastatal of government.
Speaking exclusively with DAILY TREND NEWS on Thursday, Onyemelikwe also advised freight forwarding associations to remove their minds or expectations of getting a percentage from the Practitioners Operations Fee (POF)
He said that 35% of the money is strictly to be shared between the CRFFN and the declarant.
Onyemelikwe who is the President of International Freight Forwarders Association (IFFA) explained that the CRFFN is an idea copied from United States of America based on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
“People should stop equating CRFFN with other MDAs, this is a noble idea copied from America based on PPP, this is why the Chairman and Vice Chairman would always come from the body of practitioners, which other government agency has that kind of arrangement?”
According to the former CRFFN Vice Chairman, there is no contention in the sharing formula of POF.
He however observed that some associations are now feeling disappointed that the money that would go to the practitioners (declarant) is not passing through the association.
“What the CRFFN did in terms of sharing the money is absolutely right, the associations should be looking at global best practice of how things are done, practitioners are the ones that CRFFN owe that 35% of POF”
“But if the CRFFN insists that every practitioner must be identified with an association, it now behooves on the practitioner to go back and service his dues with the association he belongs”
“How can the associations benefit? They are to come up with their projects from time to time and seek for subvention from the CRFFN, it could be that they want to build their Secretariat or they want to train their members”
“If the CRFFN supports them, they would follow-up on how the association utilize the money, this is why the accreditation given to the associations is not for life, or a perpetual accreditation, it is subject to renewals and that is why we have sanctions, the CRFFN checks how the finances of the association is being run, in terms of its subscription dues and the subventions” he said
Onyemelikwe allayed fear of some operators who have said that should the POF go direct into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) it would be difficult for them to access.
He assured that POF and the sharing formula is already gazetted by the Federal Government and that the money going into TSA is just a formality.
“Every single practitioner cannot be keeping an account. The SW global also have some percentage that would be going to them.
The claims could be done on quarterly or annual basis, but it is clear that the practitioners would access the money, there is need for their books to be checked, but if they don’t get the money, they have the right to go to court”
“The problems the associations are having now is the believe that the 35% would go through them, for onward sharing to their members”
“The only thing the associations can do is to put the CRFFN in check, the money going to CRFFN is not for them to spend as they wish, association can write them to explain how the money is being spent”
He said that approval must equally come from CRFFN before any association can increase their membership dues, if any misappropriation is discovered, there would be sanctions.