The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN, on Monday kick-started a two day sensitization workshop on Practitioners Operating Fee, POF enforcement and compliance for terminal operators in Lagos.
The workshop with the theme, “Practitioners Operating Fee Compliance – The Journey So Far”, witnessed the presence of all the seaport terminal operators, the Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, STOAN, Princess Dr. Vicky Haastrup, some members of the CRFFN Governing Council as well as the Management of CRFFN.
Speaking during the workshop, the Acting Registrar/CEO of CRFFN, Mrs. Chinyere Uromta recalled that the POF was initiated in 2010 by the first Governing Council as a source of revenue to the Council but formally commenced in 1st March, 2021 after series of meetings with the Honourable Minister of Transportation, STOAN, stakeholders and the Council.
Uromta noted that all these were after approvals were secured from the Federal Executive Council, FEC, the Federal Ministry of Finance making POF a requisite to cargo exit from the port and the Federal Ministry of Transportation directive to the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA to integrate with the Council portal and directed STOAN to do the same.
She, however, pointed out that after the signing of MoU and the subsequent commencement of POF collection, seaport terminals began to enforce payment and was a condition for practitioners to get Terminal Delivery Order, TDO.
The Registrar disclosed that from the report and update received by the Honourable Minister of Transportation, the Ministry, on the 29th of April, 2022 called a strategic Ministerial meeting with the Minister represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani to address reasons why some seaport terminals were yet to comply with the Federal Government directive on enforcement of POF.
“At this meeting, the Minister gave a two month deadline for all the terminals to comply and also mentioned that reconciliation between the terminals and the Council will take place. This is designed to ascertain the level of enforcement in individual terminal. I am glad to inform you that as at 1st July, 2022, many terminal operators came onboard and make a new beginning in POF enforcement. It is important to note that we still have some terminals that are yet to officially commence POF enforcement”, she said.
Mrs. Uromta further revealed that the Council’s technical partners, on their request provided two important means of POF Verification System for terminal operators which according to her, were all computer based namely: Full API Integration and Account Access.
“As much as we preferred that all terminals are using the first option, majority are on the second option which is manual and involve human interface. This is one of the reasons we are here, to discuss how to improve on what we have now and move towards Full API Integration as we presently have in PTML”, the acting Registrar concluded.
On his part, the Chairman, Committee on Enforcement, Monitoring and Compliance, CRFFN, Mr. Timothy Awogbemi, while appreciating the terminal operators for helping the Council kickstart the enforcement of POF collection, however, maintained that the Council was not yet where it should be in terms of POF enforcement insisting that they needed to integrate and work together in order to achieve this.
He said, “We recognize you as critical stakeholders being the last mile in the freight forwarding chain. So, you are very important. When things are wrong from the terminal, definitely, there’s no way we can hold on the container. So, we appreciate and we know that your service and your cooperation is very important.
“We discovered that things are not working well like I said but it is better to correct something than not to start at all. So, why we are here today is to look at where we are now, how do we get up from here? Some terminals are doing well, we cannot operate at the same level. Some are cooperating almost at 100 percent, some are only doing 10 percent while some might even don’t want to do anything.
“How do we move ahead from here? What do we do to benefit your terminal, to benefit the freight forwarders and to benefit the economy at large? These are the questions we are here to get answers to.”
Also speaking, the Chairman, STOAN, Princess Dr. Vicky Haastrup recalled that the association had a meeting of this nature with the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the CRFFN adding that they also received approvals from the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Shippers’ Council and that at every stage of this receipt, they would forward them to the Council for reconciliation.
Represented by the Secretary of STOAN, Barr. Boye Uzamot, Haastrup also revealed that “we have an MOU with CRFFN for all terminals to drive the collection of POF and I am aware that some terminals had issue starting which is not solely their own problem, I understand the CRFFN is supposed to go over to them because we received complaints from the terminals that they are not coming over. We want the CRFFN to be doing that.”
She continued, “I want the terminals that are here today to voice out what it takes, their own hindrance in not complying. On the issue of compliance, it is not whether you want to comply or not, all of us must comply as terminals because we already have Memorandum of Understanding.”
Meanwhile, the two day sensitization workshop continues today at Rockview Hotels, Apapa, Lagos by 11.00am.
Photo: (L-R): Mr. Timothy Awogbemi, Chairman, Committee on Enforcement, Monitoring and Compliance, CRFFN, Chief Increase Uche, Chairman, Committee on Fund Raising, CRFFN, Mrs. Chinyere Uromta, Acting Registrar/CEO, CRFFN, Barr. Boye Uzamot, Secretary, STOAN during the sensitization workshop in Lagos on Monday.
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