BUDGET DEFENCE: Lawmakers Charges Amaechi to Prioritise POF Collection through CRFFN

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committees on Land and Marine Transport on Thursday charged the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to prioritise collection of the Practitioners Operating Fee (POF) from the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) saying that the Federal Government needs more money.

The lawmakers stated this when Amaechi presented the ministry’s N147,931,691,294 budget before the joint Committee for 2022 fiscal year.

The Federal Government expect CRFFN, one of the agencies under the Ministry of Transportation, to rake in as much as N10 billion annually from the imposition of fees on Nigerian shippers.

According to CRFFN, under the POF regime, importers will pay N3.50 per every ton of cargo imported into the country, N1.50 per kilo of every air cargo, N1, 000 on every imported 20-feet container and 2,000 per 40-feet container.

Chairman of the joint budget committee, who is Chairman of Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Danjuma Goje during the budget defense by Amaechi stated that eyes would be on the revenue due from the CRFFN.

Speaking, he said “The Committee would continue to extend all the necessary support needed for the maritime sector to boost their revenue generation and increase their revenue drive into the federation account through the collected revenue”

“The bottom line is that the government needs more money and this agency under the Ministry of Transportation is the key revenue generating agency, I want to urge you to double your efforts, we are going to ensure that you increase your revenue generating efforts so as to bring more money into Federation account” he said

Recall that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed had given approval in 2020 for POF to be collected, stating that freight forwarders must henceforth show receipt of payment of POF before they can exit their cargoes at the ports.

Meanwhile, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has defended a budget of N147,931,691,294 before the joint Committee for 2022 fiscal year.

Amaechi said the major role of the Ministry in the marine transport sector was oversight and monitoring of the implementation of government policies for the sub-sector which are largely carried out by the agencies.

“The Total Capital Appropriation of the Ministry for 2021 is N156, 611,063,048 out of which N138, 967,747,631 representing (88.73 per cent) has been released to date and N113,324,587,384 has been utilised as of October 25, 2021.

“In addition, the sum of N358,799.999 was appropriated for Overhead expenditure out of which N269, 099,999 26 was released.

“The sum of N185, 690,572.33 of the released amount was expended as of October 25, 2021,” he stated.

Amaechi said: “The Ministry is proposing a total capital budget of N147,931,691,294. And the overhead of 5358, 799,998 in the 2022 budget which is before you for consideration, the objectives of these proposals is to make significant progress on all ongoing projects and to complete and deliver modem Railway Services that will become an effective alternative transport system for economic growth for the citizenry.

“I am highly honoured to address the Joint ComnnItees of the Senate and House of Representatives on Land and Marine Transport which includes (Ports and Harbour, Inland Waterways and Marine Safely and Education), and present before you the 2021 Budget Implementation Status and our proposals for 2022 budget.

“Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, while the expenditure of the Main Ministry, Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) Zaria and Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) are fully funded from the National Budget, The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron and CRFFN derive their funding from both the National Budget as well as their internally Generated Revenues (IGRs).

“For the purpose of emphasis. I wish to state that three of the agencies under the ministry, namely NPA, NIMASA and NSC are fully self-funding and make reasonable remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF/TSA),” he stated.

The Minister further explained that “let me use this opportunity to further emphasise to the esteemed Committee that the Ministry as part of its mandate has continued to pursue the implementation of Government policies in the Land Transport Sub-sector in Nigeria.”

Amaechi said the Ministry was also paying attention to “issues relating to the ECOWAS protocol, and conventions entered into in respect of the Sub-sector.

“We have focused majorly on completing the ongoing National Freight Offices at Jibya and Idiroko in addition to other Land Transport Prefects and Wth your support, the capturing of all these projects and programs as a proposal. before you in the 2022 Budget will move us further towards reaching the goals of the administration in developing this sub-sector,” he stated.

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