By Godwin Oritse
OPERATORS in the Nigerian maritime industry particularly in the freight forwarding sub-sector have said that it is illegal for the government to fund the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN).
Former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Mrs Mfon Usoro said that funding for the Council is well stipulated in the Act, adding that anything outside the law is not proper.
Already, the Council hasÂ receivedÂ subvention from the Ministry of Transport to run its activities and currently has its office inside the ministryâ€™s building.
Speaking to Vanguard on the alleged funding from government, Usoro, who prior to her appointment was theÂ maritime lawyer who drafted the bill for the cou before it was passed into law said that she was not aware that the Council was being funded by government adding that if it was true, then it is wrong and therefore illegal.
Similarly President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Mr Lucky Amiwero, saidÂ the funding of the Council by government as illegal and fraudulent. He saidÂ that the lawÂ in its present state cannot be implemented as it contains issues that can never allow it to work adding that Amiwero,Â that the Act only allows for the Councilâ€™sÂ fundingÂ with moneys realized from within the freight forwarding industry.
The Act states that the Council can be funded with monies raised from practicing fees to be paid by practitioners as well as monies raised from membership subscription.
Part of the Councilâ€™s Act reads: â€œThe Council shall establish and maintain a fund for purpose of this act, the management and control of it shall be in the hands of the Council.
â€œThere shall be paid into the fund of the Council an annual practicing fee payable by every freight forwarder in an amount determined by the Council.
â€œAll fees and other monies payable to the Council under this Act and such monies as may be payable to the Council in the course of the discharge of its duties.â€
They are of the opinion that the continued funding of the Council by the government is against the law establishing the Council as there are laid down procedures for the financing of the group.
The operators also reiterated that the Council is not a government department and therefore not supposed to get funding of any kind from government.