There are conflicting accounts about what transpired at the meeting between members of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), members of the Concerned Registered Freight Forwarders Associations (CRFFA) and the Federal Ministry of Transport (FMOT) over collection of the controversial practitioners’ operating fee by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) on Wednesday.
CRFFA consists of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN) and National Association of Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC).
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY had reported in its edition of Tuesday 9th June 2015 that the Ministry of Transport had invited the leaders of the various freight forwarding associations to a meeting in Abuja on Wednesday to find solution to the face-off between ANLCA and the other associations over CRFFN’s bid to collect the contentious fee.
However when contacted by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY yesterday, AREFFN President Frank Ukor and the National Publicity Secretary of ANLCA Kayode Farinto gave different accounts of what transpired at the meeting.
Ukor said the Permanent Secretary of FMOT, Mallam Mohammed Bashar had threatened to sanction ANLCA “if it failed to submit itself to the directive and regulation of CRFFN”.
He said, “The long and short of the meeting is that the permanent secretary told ANLCA at the meeting that CRFFN is an agency of government and the Attorney General had advised that even though the Council is not sitting, the Minister can give directive as to the operation of the agency till the board is in place.
“Infact, he said CRFFN has the right to order collection of practicing fee as approved by the Ministry and it is a law and if ANLCA should act to the contrary, they are committing felony as against the law for any citizen to oppose the law of the Federal Republic.
“Mallam Bashar said the Ministry would rework the modalities for collection and sharing of the practitioner fee and should ANLCA refuse to submit itself they would be sanctioned.”
But ANLCA spokesman KayodeFarinto said the FMOT Permanent Secretary listened to all the parties present and postponed the meeting to a later date to rule on the dispute.
“At the meeting yesterday, every one stated their side. After that, the other group brought out a letter from the Ministry of Justice where they said the Attorney General advised that the Council can operate without a Governing Council but we told them we are not a party to that letter hence it cannot be binding on us.
“The conclusion is that he (the Permanent Secretary) will study the letters and reconvene the meeting as soon as possible but we don’t know when.”
ANLCA had maintained opposition to the collection of the operating fees, which was approved for collection by CRFFN by former Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, vide a letter dated 26th February 2015.
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