In a bid at resolving the ongoing impasse on the collection of the controversial Practitioner Operating Fee, POF, at the nation’s seaports, airports and border posts by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), the registrar of the agency, Mike Jukwe has solicited the support of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA).
Jukwe was reported to have visited the National Executive Council meeting (NECOM) of the Association in Port Harcourt to solicit for the cooperation of the association in the collection of the POF
The collection of the POF has been a subject of litigation with ANLCA recently accusing Jukwe and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, of flouting a court order, which issued an order stopping collection of the controversial POF.
ANLCA has said that the fee would increase the cost of doing business at the port, which is a clear contravention on the ease of doing business initiative of the Federal Government and that its collection amounts to violation of an order of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, which had directed that status quo be maintained pending determination of a case instituted by the association.
CRFFN is expected to rake in as much as N10 billion annually from the imposition of N1, 000 on every imported twenty-foot container; and N2, 000 on every forty-foot container. CRFFN will also collect N1, 000 per truck load of general cargo, N500 per imported car and N1, 000 on other types of imported vehicles.
However, ANLCA’s opposition has stalled collection of the fee. The association’s officials however reportedly gave Jukwe conditions under which they will back the POF collection.
The major condition, according to a source, is the constitution of the CRFFN’s Governing Council.
ANLCA is not the only association in the maritime sector challenging the collection of the POF, the President of the National Council of
Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA); Lucky Amiwero has also challenged the legality of the CRFFN to collect POF in the absence of a governing council.
However, as the flexing of muscles persists, observers say it is left to be seen who would blink first.