Following comments by the Registrar, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Barr. Samuel Nwakohu to the effect that all monies accruing from the collection of the Practitioners’ Operating Fee (POF) will be swept into the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has said that it will need to further engage the Council on how to get the freight forwarders’ percentage out so as to properly define it.
It will be recalled that Nwakohu while answering questions from journalists during the flag off of POF collection in Lagos on Monday, on how the freight forwarders would get their percentage of the monies collected as earlier agreed said, “monies are swept into TSA (Treasury Single Accoung), then from there, applications are made. It is when it gets to the TSA that everybody will write his invoice and get paid his percentage.
Also speaking on the frequency of the application for the release of the percentages, he said, “that we haven’t decided on that but we hope that it will be as frequently as possible.”
However, reacting to the development while speaking in a press briefing at the ANLCA National Secretariat in Lagos on Tuesday, the National President of the association, Chief Iju Tony Nwabunike said that the current position of the Registrar differed from what they were earlier told noting that they were meant to believe that while the percentage due to the federal government would go TSA, those due to the technical partner, freight forwarders and CRFFN would go to a different account from where it would be properly disbursed to parties involved.
Nwabunike on learning about the new development from one of the journalists then said, “This information is very vital and very key. If you look at it critically, you will notice that President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents was not there, the President of NAGAFF was not there, what we need to do is that they need to come back to us and discuss with us properly. It is very important. I don’t want to go there but now that you have said it, this is the position we want to take on that. In as much as we are supporting POF, we need to know the critical aspects of POF and how to handle it.
“We are going to sit down with the Registrar, the Chairman. Don’t forget that we have fifteen of the customs brokers and freight forwarders in that Council. So, just like I told you that all the associations are going to come back together to solve our problems, what we want to do is to bring them in to tell them that we need to streamline this thing but we shouldn’t stop POF to go. Now that it is going on with TSA, which is a good thing, let me tell you that it is a good thing, no money is lost. So, let it go there, we will implore everybody to continue and be law abiding freight forwarders and customs brokers until we get that thing sorted out. It is a process and they must have to move on.”
He posited that ANLCA members agreed totally that they should pay the POF based on the things they (CRFFN) had told them which according to him included training them from the proceeds of the collection, take care of the welfare of freight forwarders as well as take care of the associations and make sure that associations were extremely in line with the Council.
He continued, “So, when we now sat down and looked at it critically, we discovered that it is much better for us to partner with CRFFN and move forward after all you can remember that no collection by customs, that whatever collection customs must have made, that there must be a declarant to that money. So, that money have been declared by the declarant since and at no time did the federal government deemed it fit to extract even half percent of what we declared in return for our welfare and training. So, if CRFFN promised to do that and we are looking forward to that, we said, okay, let us give them a trial and on this note.
On attempt by a member of ANLCA to drag CRFFN to court over POF collection, Nwabunike who is the pioneer Chairman of CRFFN had this to say, “I strongly believe that as you asked, no single petition has come to NECOM against it, no single member of our association has actually written a letter saying that he is going to court. I must tell you that this is the first time I am hearing it but if that is the case, I will sincerely ask the person to hold on, let us give peace a chance and let us give CRFFN a chance and review POF after one year.”
Photo: ANLCA National President, Chief Iju Tony Nwabunike.
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