Due to the lack of a governing council in place at the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), stakeholders in the maritime industry are divided over the collection of the Practitioner Operating Fee (POF).
The public relations officer of The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Stanley Ezenga, said the best is for CRFFN to put its house in order as failure to define how the collected money will be shared will cause an uproar.
“The CRFFN act recognizes individuals as declarant. It also recognizes Licensed Customs agents as declarant. This needs to be streamlined before the collection because if money is collected without defining how the money will be shared it will raise an uproar. I think the best that needs to be done is that CRFFN put their house in order before collecting the fee.
Another stakeholder in the industry, Sola Bojuri, said the collection of POF is long overdue, that internal wrangling was responsible for the delay.
“CRFFN should have started the collection for a long time. But a delay was caused due to the rivalry among the associations. I feel the Minister should not interfere in this rivalry because Ministry of Transport is another industry entirely. I don’t think it is necessary for them to wave into rivalry going on. This is because it is supposed to be the duty of the finance association agents and brokers to settle any misunderstanding among them,” he said.
Toeing a different line, Frank Aliakor of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (Apapa Chapter) argued that CRFFN is not supposed to collect the fee but rather, regulate activities of freight forwarders.
“It is known that CRFFN is not supposed to collect any fee from the port. This is because they are for regulation of the freight forwarders. Moreover, there is no governing council for CRFFN. Additionally, they can only start thinking of collection and raise money for the council when the stakeholder’s election and freight forwarders election is done. Also, a governing board has to be implemented,” he added.