FG: CRFFN to start collecting transaction fees soon

The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) will soon commence collection of transaction fees on all consignments imported into the country.

Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar disclosed this yesterday at the formal opening of the CRFFN national secretariat named ‘Freight Forwarders Headquarters’ and flagging off of staff training and retreat in Apapa, Lagos.

Umar, who was represented by a deputy director in the Maritime Service department of the Ministry, said the embargo placed on the collection of the fees by the Federal Government would be lifted soon.

He said, “The process for lifting the suspension of the transaction fee is on and any moment from now, there will be release in that regard.”

The Minister lauded the management of CRFFN for moving its national headquarters to Apapa.

“With the provision of this new office in Apapa, the hub of port and shipping business in Nigeria, the opportunity for development of a modern and globally competitive freight forwarding system and by extension achieving the core function of the council’s mandate is now significantly improved.”

He said, “Government is desirous of foisting a dynamic bureaucracy that would be in a position to contend with the emerging global challenges. It is for this reason that the Ministry of Transport has made staff training a culture.

“Undoubtedly, we will not only continue to pay adequate attention to staff training but would also demand reciprocity and improved service delivery from staff.”

Speaking earlier, Registrar of the Council, Sir Mike Jukwe had appealed to the Minister to lift the suspension of the transaction fee.

“We are aware that the Minister was committed to lifting the suspension on the collection of transaction fee and we appeal that he does that as soon as it is possible.

“Inadequate funding to execute the numerous planned activities of the Council can be [solved] through the lifting of ban placed on the collection of internally generated revenue,” Jukwe stated.

Jukwe also said that training and retraining of the council workforce was for maximum and timely service delivery on the council’s mandate.

“This council can only have professionally qualified and dedicated workforce through training and retraining. We are committed to this that and this retreat is the third in the series but we also targeted on-the-job short and long term training programmes,” he said.

It would be recalled that shortly after SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in its issue of 10th August 2012 broke the news of the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar’s approval for CRFFN to collect transaction fees on all goods imported into the country, National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu resigned from the CRFFN Governing Council allegedly over refusal of the Council to discuss sharing formula of revenues accruing from collection of the fees with the accredited freight forwarding associations.

Shittu’s resignation and petition to the Transport Minister led to the suspension of the collection of the transaction fees; a move which has costed CRFFN about N2 billion in two years and compounded its precarious financial condition.

Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam backed Shittu’s action at the time.

During a chat with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in September 2012, Aniebonam claimed that the decision to collect transaction fees was not discussed at CRFFN’s Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum and hence did not get the buy-in of many freight forwarders. He said it was wrong for CRFFN to have sought approval of the Minister of Transport for collection of the transaction fees.

“Those who went to the Minister to seek approval for collection of transaction fee, again, do not even know what they are doing because it is not the minister that will give us approval to collect moneys that are due to us. Section 6 of the Council’s Act is quite clear on the opportunity the council has to collect money from registered freight forwarders and even the associations that they accredited. So you could see that they are making mistakes.

“What they are supposed to do is come together under the Freight Forwarder’s Consultative Forum and agree that this is what we are going to do and once we have agreed, then the council will give credence to that, and the Minister will be informed. That is what the Act says”, Aniebonam had stated in the interview.

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