As Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation is intensifying his campaign to be the next President of Nigeria, an aggrieved stakeholder in the maritime industry, Segun Musa, has called the APC presidential aspirant out to account for millions of naira remitted by Freight Forwarders under the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding practice in Nigeria(CRFFN) which is under the supervision of his ministry.
Musa, a frontline freight forwarder and former Chairman of the Airport chapter of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), claimed that freight forwarders, since the inception of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN) in 2007 and as stipulated by the Council Act, have been making annual remittances to the Federal Government through the ministry of Transportation in terms of annual dues and membership subscriptions of the CRFFN,
The concerned stakeholder further alleged that these monies, which have run into several millions of naira, are yet to be accounted for.
Musa further alleged that the amount accrued from the remittances made by freight forwarding companies and individual freight forwarders, may have been mismanaged, hence his call for accountability.
“We are soliciting the support of all well-meaning Nigerians and other stakeholders to call on the Ministry of Transportation to respect the FOI Act and give details of total collections from individual and corporate annual dues from the inception of the CRFFN Act and explain how it has been utilised as well as the law that backed up the usage.
“The critical stakeholders in the transport subsector are suspicious of possible mismanagement of the public funds tagged (annual dues) contributed by freight forwarders into the coffers of the Federal Government under the supervision of the Ministry of Transportation.
“The reports in circulation indicate that the Ministry of Transportation has mismanaged hundreds of millions in naira so far contributed by freight forwarders as the stipulated dues in line with the Act that established the CRFFN from their income aside from statutory taxes deductibles.
“The law compelled every freight forwarding company to pay a stipulated amount as dues annually as well as every individual staff of the companies to remain in practice.
“Despite the inconvenience due to the global economic meltdown and slowdowns in business as well as the biting inflation impacts, members of the freight forwarding industry complied with the directives as enshrined in the law” he noted.
Musa expressed regret that despite the statutory obligations of the CRFFN board to use this amount accrued from the annual dues and subscription to train freight forwarders, all the training so far organised by the Council were fully paid for by freight forwarders themselves except very few that were free.
“It is sad to note that the essence of compliance is due to the fact that the revenues pool would be deployed to build members’ capacity to meet global standards and position them to participate in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
“It is most unfortunate that all the training organised so far were paid for in full by stakeholders aside from few that came as free” he declared.
Musa, therefore, expressed reservation over the collection of the controversial Practitioner Operating Fee(POF) made compulsory to be paid by freight forwarders and sanctioned by the Ministry of Transportation despite several millions of annual remittances that are yet to be accounted for.
“The alleged mismanagement of public funds contributed by freight forwarders came as a result of the same Ministry of Transportation that has not accounted for the hundreds of millions in naira contributed so far aside government allocations and subvention, now demanding for revenues from every imported shipment into the country tagged Practitioner Operating Fee (POF).
“This simply means regardless of membership annual subscriptions or dues paid, aside the Customs license renewed with lots of money, aside customs duties, shipping companies charges and terminal charges, you will still have to pay something similar to customs duty to the Ministry of Transport before imported goods will be allowed to exit the ports”
The NAGAFF chieftain, while lamenting the plethora of charges imposed on freight forwarders in a stifling economy, said this has made Nigerian ports non- user friendly .
“This is the kind of policy that has made our ports not to be business-friendly and has been encouraging manufacturers to exit our country as well forcing importers to patronise the neighboring ports.
“This policy is not only strange to International best practices but also strange to any economic ideology targeted at adding any kind of values to any sector of the economy.
“We hereby implore our strategic partners to help in calling out the Honorable Minister for Transportation to come and account for what we have contributed to the pool under his supervision, how it has been utilised and as a matter of responsibility, jettison the idea of POF because it is an intellectual fraud targeted to further impoverish the innocent Nigerians” Musa further alleged,
Ameachi inaugurates 4th CRFFN board amidst muffled complaints over imposition of principal officers
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Wednesday inaugurated the fourth governing board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN).
The 32- members governing board was inaugurated in a low-key manner devoid of any funfair.
An insider source whispered to our reporter that Ameachi, who seemed to had already made up his mind on the principal officers who will pilot the affairs of the council, rushed the process which returned the erstwhile chairman and the Vice Chairman of the now-dissolved 3rd governing board unopposed.
“There was no election. The Minister just sauntered into the conference room of the ministry and said that he would not spend more than one minute with us.
“After that, he asked us if we wanted the status quo to remain, to which we all chorused in the affirmative.
” So the former Chairman, Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar was returned unopposed while his former Deputy in the last board, Chief Henry Njoku, was also returned unopposed as the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the new board respectively.
“He didn’t just give us any chance to make our own choice, the Minister merely stampeded us.
“That man cannot be the President of Nigeria. He is too dictatorial” a member of the new board who did not want his name in print for fear of reprisal action, lamented.
However, Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the National Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and a member of the new board, told our reporter that the Minister was merely exercising his right as enshrined in section six of the CRFFN act which gives him the power to direct.
“It was that power to direct he relied on .”
When asked why nobody could challenge the imposition of the principal officers, especially the chairman who was not an elected but selected member, Farinto said no one was qualified to vie against him.
“Even, if we, the elected members, decided to run against him in an election, don’t forget that the government selected members are more than us who were elected.
” While we are 15, the selected members are 17 and that put them at an advantage”.
The Minister however told the members of the board that they would be invited at a later date for the ceremonial aspect of the inauguration.
With the Wednesday inauguration, the fourth governing board of the CRFFN has officially taken off and was told to hit the ground running.
15 freight forwarders were elected into the council during the March elections which took place in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt on 9th March 2022 while 17 members were selected by the government from different agencies to make up the 32- member governing board.
Farinto urges Customs brokers to mobilise 5m votes for presidential candidate who is freight forwarders- friendly
ANLCA dismisses strike threat at Tin Can port as baseless, by faceless group.
—–says efforts to resolve NAC controversial levy in top gear.
The top hierarchy of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has described as baseless the call on freight forwarders to go on strike from Monday to protest the imposition of a 15 percent National Automotive Council (NAC) levy on second-hand vehicles.
One Alhaji Rilwan Amuni, who claimed to be a youth leader of ANLCA at Tin Can Island Port, had circulated a strike notice Friday, asking Customs brokers to brace up for a one-day warning strike on Monday to protest the controversial 15 percent NAC levy.
In a swift reaction, Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of ANLCA, condemned the call for strike and disowned the conveyor of the message.
“The ANLCA is not going on strike on account of the NAC levy. The call for a strike is by a faceless group in the Tin can port and we shall deal with the situation appropriately.
“Who signed the notice? That character is not a member of ANLCA and has no license. Whoever heeds his call for a strike does so at his or her own risk.” the ANLCA chieftain warned
He said the action of the “faceless group” does not enjoy the support of the ANLCA top hierarchy.
In a similar vein, the association said the leadership of the five accredited freight forwarding associations is working in tandem to resolve the controversial NAC levy.
The Secretary-General of the ANLCA, Alhaji Abdulaziz Mukaila, said that the freight forwarders confraternity has decided to engage the Federal Ministry of Finance on the issue.
“When we held a meeting with the Customs last week Wednesday, we found out that the agency was not responsible for the imposition of the levy but the ministry of Finance.
“We have therefore written to the ministry and only got the acknowledgment of our letter Thursday.
“Hopefully, the five accredited freight forwarding associations will hold a meeting with the ministry officials next week,” the ANLCA Chief Scribe told our reporter.
Alhaji Mukaila explained further that the controversy on the Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy has been resolved amicably with the Customs.
“At the meeting, we had with the Customs, we were satisfied with the outcome.
“The Customs has agreed to build in 10 percent depreciation level of vehicles before the policy, which is on suspension now, is relaunched”
The ANLCA Chief Scribe further gave details of the meeting.
“There is an extant law that stipulates that you cannot bring in a vehicle above 10 years.
“This age limit has been built into the system as the cut-off year.
“So if anyone brings in a 1970 year car, he should be ready to pay the amount of 2013.
“We agreed to that and the 10 percent depreciation by compound accounting will be applied to give each car 10 years’ depreciation by value.
“That was worked out in our presence and in the process of getting 10 percent. It is ok with us.
“The only thing we asked the Customs to do is to look into how they can build in accident and salvage vehicles so that whoever brings in cars in that category, there would be a way of differentiating those cars in that category from those that are fully-built of the same year.
“The Customs has promised to work on that and invite us back before launching it.
“So far so good”, he declared.
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