By Gboyega Oni
Collection of the much vaunted Practitioners’ Operating Fees (POF) will finally commence on August 1, 2017 as the Federal Government has directed the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to put the necessary machinery in place for the collection and warned freight forwarders to comply or face sanction.
The directive to that effect was contained in a letter written by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi to all freight forwarding associations at the seaports, airport and land borders to begin preparation by adding the fees with their cost of cargo clearance.
A copy of the letter made available to PortNews by the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) in Lagos also directed that election into the Governing Board of CRFFN, the collector of the fees, be conducted in the month of September 2017 as the ministry has released the time table for the election.
The minister said government would not release fund for the election as the cost of holding the election will be defrayed from the money collected from the POF by CRFFN.
The letter, which was dated July 5, 2017 with reference number T. 4252/S.8/C.16/T/44, was signed by S.U. Galadanchi, Director of Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation.
According to Galadanchi in the letter, “I am directed to inform you that the Honourable Minister of Transportation has requested the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to commence the collection of Practitioners’ Operating Fee (POF) at the seaports, airports and land borders in Nigeria from 1st of August, 2017. Consequently, your association is requested to ensure compliance by including payment of POF by freight forwarders as additional requirement for the release of cargo.
“In addition, the election into the Governing Board of CRFFN be conducted within the month of September 2017, with the financial cost of conducting the election to be defrayed from the collection of POF fees by CRFFN. Find the attached time table for the collection of the POF and the election into the Governing Board for your kind consideration.”
It would be recalled that the struggle for the soul of CRFFN by the two powerful associations – Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) hindered CRFFN management to commence the collection of the POF earlier than now. This coupled with selfish interest and inability of the two to reconcile their differences on the collection method also made the POF stayed longer in the cooler than necessary.