28 May 2015, Lagos – The operation of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria has over the years been hampered by a number of controversies, the latest being the collection of the Practitioners Operating Fee from freight forwarders.
The fee said to be collectable on all forms of cargo entering and leaving the country through the land, air and sea borders, involves a charge of N2 on one kilogramme of air cargo, N1,000 on a 20ft container for sea freight cargo, N3.50 per tonne on general cargo and dry bulk cargo attracts a charge of N1.00 per tonne.
However, this collection was stopped about two years ago following a petition written to the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, by the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents.
The President of ANLCA, Mr. Olayiwola Shittu, had allegedly resigned from the CRFFN governing council at the time over the sharing formula of revenues accruing from the collected fees.
Following an appeal by the Registrar, CRFFN, Mr. Mike Jukwe, the minister had at the opening of the council’s national secretariat in Lagos last year announced that the embargo placed on the fee collection would be lifted.
Jukwe had defended the collection of the fee, saying it was necessary for the council to execute its numerous projects, which included the training of its members.
After an official gazette by the Federal Government approving the POF, the council issued a notice three weeks ago informing all concerned associations that the fee collection would begin on May 11, 2015.
According to the council, the POF is not a cargo levy and will not add to the cost of doing business at the ports since it will be paid from the practitioners’ service charge and invoices generated online by the freight forwarder.
But members of ANLCA are not convinced about the rationale behind the fee. And they demonstrated this last week when they allegedly attacked some council officials at Seme border.