The Federal Government has resolved the dispute over the collection of Practitioners Operating Fees (POF) in favour of the Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
It has directed the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) to pay the fees to CRFFN.
But ANLCA has allegedly vowed not to comply with the directive, claiming that payment of the fees to CRFFN would amount to additional cost with negative multiplier effect on the economy.
In a July 5 letter signed by S.U Galandachi, Director of Maritime Services at the Ministry of Transport, the government fixed August 1 for the take-off of the new payment regime.
The fees will be paid at seaports, airports and land border.
The letter directed that “election into the governing board of CRFFN be conducted in September 2017, with the financial cost of conducting the election to be defrayed from the collection of POF by CRFFN.”
A copy of the time-table for the election was also attached by the ministry.
Kicking against the directive, ANLCA President Prince Olayiwola Shittu said licensed customs agents pay the following fees:
- Annual Licence Renewal N215,000;
- Annual Nigeria Ports Authority Licence Renewal – N6,000;
- Annual Customs Command Operating Fees – N15,000/Customs Command;
- Bank charges for Customs Bond – N52,500; and
- CRFFN Annual Payment – N70,000/Staff Member.
According to Shittu, daily payment of POF would be burdensome on a Customs agency/company which, when transferred to importers/exporters, would affect the economy.
“We want to state categorically that nowhere is such payment as Practitioner’s Operating Fees being collected from a Customs Agency/Broker. We stand to be corrected. Nigeria being a growing economy should not be saddled with the practitioner’s operating Fee, which is the design of some few individuals to distort the national economy for their selfish interests,” Shittu said.
He called for election into CRFFN as governing board to enable it determine the fate of the fees and resolve other issues.
He said despite the absence of a governing board, CRFFN has been receiving allocations, through the ministry.
Shittu appealed to the Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi to suspend the fee collection to avoid problem.
Beside, the matter ANLCA’s National Publicity Secretary Dr. Kayode Farinto, said was before the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.
ANCLA, he said, was challenging the Ministry’s initial directive on the payment of the fee, urging Amaechi to wait for the judgement before introducing a new fee.
Joined in the suit are the CRFFN and Inspector-General of Police (IGP). Under the new fee regime, importers will pay N1.50 per kilo of every air cargo, N1,000 per 20-foot container, N2,000 per each 40-foot container, N500 per car or Jeep imported into the country and N1,000 per every truck or 20-foot equivalent.
Others include N2,000 per truck or 40-foot equivalent, N3.50 per every ton of cargo imported into the country and N1 per ton of every dry bulk cargo handled in any of the seaports.
The approved registration fees for freight forwarders, including Nigerians and non-Nigerians, range from N7,500 to N50,000 yearly depending on the category of membership; and yearly subscription fees ranging from N10,000 to N60,000 for the various levels of the membership of the council.