By Godfrey Bivbere
THE approval granted the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) by the federal government for the collection of transaction fees is threatening the relative peace in the freight forwarding sector of the maritime industry.
The approval which will see the Council raking in billions of naira annually from the collection of transaction fees, registration fee and subscription fees respectively, has led to the resignation of the National President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu.
The resignation of the ANLCA boss on the directive of the National Executive Council (NEC), according to sources close to the body, was as a result of the fact that the approval will deprive ANLCA from its major source of revenue.
The source told Vanguard that the leadership of ANLCA directed that should all entreaties to dissuade both the minister and the CRFFN to rescind their decision on the collection of the charges fail, the association should immediately put measures in place in order to go to court to stop the council from collecting the fees from port operators.
The source further noted that members warned the leadership to be careful with the proposed subvention to associations, which many saw as a Greek Gift to make them an appendage of the council and therefore voiceless.
In a letter titled “Report on the stakeholders’ meeting on the annual subscription and other fees to be collected by the CRFFN”with reference number T.0160/s.172/1 and dated 3rd July, 2012, government approved transaction fees for airports, seaports and land borders cargoes.
The charges approved by government includes, N1.50 per kilometer for air cargo, N1.000 per 20 feet container, N2,000 per 40 feet container, N500 per car/jeep, N1,000 per truck or 20 feet equivalent, N2,000 per truck or 40 feet equivalent, N3.50 per ton for general cargo and N1.00 per ton for dry bulk cargo respectively.
Should the above which adds up to N6, 506 be multiplied by 205, 595, 088 which is the total gross tonnage and cargo throughput declared by the Management of NPA for last year, the Council is expected to earn about N1.3 trillion annually.
The federal government equally approved various registration fees for Nigerians and non Nigerians, ranging from N7,500 to N50,000 depending on the category of membership. Similarly, annual subscription fees ranging from N10,000 to N60,000 was approved, depending on the category of membership.