By Chiazo Ogbolu
The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) said on Wednesday that the Practitioners Operation Fee (POF), when implemented, would generate N5 billion annually.
The Registrar of the council, Mr Samuel Nwakohu, said this at a media chat in Lagos.
According to him, POF is a legal practising fee meant for freight forwarders and customs brokers who need to be professionals and practical in their areas of work.
He also described POF as an infinitesimal fraction of amount that a practitioner charges its client, adding that only POF-paying freight forwarders would be allowed to clear their cargoes from the ports.
Nwakohu said that a 20ft container would attract a fee of N1,000 while a 40ft container would attract N2,000 before it was cleared from the port.
“The POF is an avenue for raising internally generated revenue for the country.
“It is also a means of generating money for the council to be used for its upkeep, as it is inadequately funded and runs an overhead of N2.7 million per month.
“Over the years, collection of the money had hitches, but the council has been making moves for its approval, and the fee has now been approved by the Federal Government.
“Any moment from now, POF will go live and it will not be business as usual, and its implementation will bring in N5 billion for the country,” he said.
The registrar said that the system was automated, and with the technology put in place, they were sure of surpassing the amount.
He said that when raised, 25 per cent of the money would go to government towards nation building, 20 per cent to SW Global, the technical partner on POF collection, and 30 to 35 to the council.
Nwakohu said that the portion allocated to the council would be used to train freight forwarders, run the council and look into freight forwarders’ challenges.
He said that the POF had been integrated fully with the Nigerian Ports Authority and Nigeria Customs Service, but negotiations were ongoing for the integration of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
The registrar said that money received from the POF would also be used in training freight forwarders to make them in tune with international standards.
He said that stakeholders had been sensitised and were prepared for the collection, though some received it with mixed feelings.
“In every given situation, we should not expect everyone to comply, but what we are doing is fully backed by law.
“The system put in place is self-enforcing; we do not need people to wear bullet proof or carry guns, but the technology on ground will enforce it at the port.
“If the fee is not paid, one cannot carry his cargo,” he said.
Nwakohu urged all practicing freight forwarders to register with the CRFFN to avoid hitches.(NAN)