Following the conclusion of the integration with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) will next week commence the collection of Practitioners Operating Fees (POF) in all seaports in the country.
The Registrar and Chief Executive of CRFFN, Samuel Nwakohu, in an interview, in Lagos, said the council was set to commence the collection, which is an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the federal government and all parties involved.
With the new initiative, he said the council would now be fully equipped to regulate freight forwarding in the country, adding that as a noble profession, freight forwarding is not an all comers’ affair.
The council, he revealed, has over the years been under funded, stating it only gets N2.7 million from the government every month which hardly covers overheads alone.
“With that kind of situation, it became extremely difficult to run the place. POF, I am told, is one of the ways to generate revenue. For one year we have been on it, we went to ICRC to make a business case, the Federal Executive Council has approved our plan. We have been able to integrate our platform with the NPA and the NCS and we are negotiating with the NCAA.
“By the time we conclude our negotiation with NCAA, the airports and land borders will also join,” he said.
He said the council hopes to surpass the projected N5 billion annually as the clearing of a 20ft container would attract N1,000 while a 40ft container will attract N2,000.
Giving a breakdown of how the money would be shared among all parties involved, he said the federal government would get 25 per cent, the claimants 25 per cent while the rest will go to the council and its technical partner.
The CRFFN boss added that contrary to opinion in some quarters, POF will reduce the cost of doing business at the Nigerian seaports.
Nwakohu, stated that it was mischievous when people say that that POF collection would add to the cost of doing business.
“It will not add to the cost of doing business rather it will reduce the cost of doing business in several ways. POF is that service charge that a freight forwarder charges his client. For example, if the service charge for 20ft container is N20, 000, we are asking the freight forwarder to pay us N1, 000 out of that money. From that N1, 000, we will be able to train him, we will be able to look into other issues.
“Nothing comes free, for us to equip you for tomorrow; we need some funds to be able to help you. You can’t go to any school at all without being able to pay for it. So, for me, I believe that it will bring down the cost of doing business because the man who is the beneficiary, at the end of the day will be better equipped on how to go about his business. It will no longer be an all comers’ affair,” he said.
He added: “We also need money to administer ourselves. We are a regulatory agency. Let the truth be said, over the period, some people have been collecting this money and putting it in their pockets. Naturally, you don’t expect them to be happy.
“Let me tell you something, if you have been sitting on something for a long time and that thing is going to the pockets of a group of people, when you want to do it legally, you don’t expect that everybody will say well done, that you have done well. No. People will resist you because those people who are the beneficiaries would definitely resist you.”