…Terminal Operators Allegedly Backs Out of Collection
The much touted collection of the controversial Practitioners Operating Fee (POF) by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has hit the brickwalls, even as practitioners described the collection as dead on arrival.
The CRFFN had proposed to start collection of the money at the port on 4th of March 2020, but DAILY TREND NEWS however gathered from sources within the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at the weekend that invoices collected from the terminal operators so far has not reflected the POF.
Registrar of CRFFN, Bar Mike Nwakohu at the launching of the POF POF collection in Lagos recently announced that terminal operators would be helping out the Council in order to make the collection process smooth.
According to him, the terminal operators would be provided with an Excel sheet, which would be ticked off before a freight forwarder is allowed to carry the cargo out of the port.
The POF is a fee of N1,000 and N2000, which must be paid for the 20ft and 40ft containerss respectively before cargo can be cleared.
Nwakohu said “Terminal operators have nothing to do with the process on the portal; the only role they play is to verify the receipt against the control document to ensure one has paid before leaving the port” he said
As simple as that sounds, our correspondent learnt that heaven been slapped with notifications on the several court cases instituted by stakeholders against POF POF collection, especially from ANLCA members, the terminal operators may not be willing to get ahead in POF POF collection process.
Some of the licensed clearing agents had reportedly gone to court, asking the court to stop CRFFN from collecting the money.
According to them, the POF money by CRFFN is an illegality.
Secondly, the freight forwarded are contesting the fact that CRFFN is not a government agency and that it has now been hijacked by government.
A senior licensed Customs agent told DAILY TREND NEWS that “The contention here is that CRFFN is not supposed to be a government council, it is meant for the practitioners, but now it is being run like a government agency, the Minister shouldn’t be the one to appoint the chairman as we saw during the last election, and the Registrar too was imposed by the government, these two people are not even core practitioners “
“We are waiting for them at the port, let them even try and say they want to collect. The terminal operators are also being careful, don’t be deceived, there is nobody that would be ready to collect that money. If the terminal operators collect it, what is their percentage?
Speaking of the six persons representing ANLCA on the CRFFN board, he said “The tenure of the CRFFN board comes to an end in November, many of them there are just deceiving the chairman and the Registrar, they are speaking from their mouth but not their heart”
“The POF does not favour anyone because the money is going straight into the TSA account of the federal government”
Another freight forwarder who spoke with DAILY TREND NEWS under anonymity said that freight forwarders are patiently waiting to see if the CRFFN would attempt to collect POF at the port.
“We are waiting and watching, I collected my debit note but there is nothing like POF there, the terminal operators are to collect it before printing exit for us”
“Some of our members have gone to court over this matter, terminal operators are not willing to corporate because their is no provision for any percentage for them”
Also speaking on the collection, an official of ANLCA said “The CRFFN management have disappointed us, all they are after is the POF collection, nobody is thinking of how to revive the industry, it is a shame, ANLCA made a mistake by putting our hand in a thing that is bigger than us”
“There is no reform they have implemented since they were inaugurated, freight forwarders have not felt their impact anywhere, they just came out and start agitating to collect POF, yet we have never seen anybody from CRFFN, either from the enforcement or administrative or training aspect, we never seen them coming to talk to us, they never visited the port, we have seen them visiting even the terminal operators, all we are hearing is POF”