The African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has kicked against the sharing of proceeds from the controversial Practitioners Operating Fees (POF) by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to only five freight forwarding associations including the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF).
President of APFFLON, Frank Ogunojemite, who expressed concern over the development when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman of the Governing Council of CRFFN, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni, in Lagos on Thursday described the payment of N200,000 monthly to associations by CRFFN as an unlawful act as he alleged that none of the five registered associations have fulfil their financial obligations to the Council in the past eight years.
Ogunojemite also condemned the Council for failing to recognize individual registered members and companies recognized by the CRFFN Act in the sharing of the POF proceeds.
According to him, “This N200,000 payment to associations is something that would contribute to divisiveness and anarchy in the sector and it’s an issue that the Governing Board has to address.
“CRFFN Act stipulates that associations that don’t pay dues for a period of six months be deregistered and all CRFFN registered associations have violated this. Hence, the ideal thing is to deregister associations to show willingness to enforce the CRFFN Act. What is the Governing Board doing about this?”
Meanwhile, Ogunojemite observed that there are discrepancies between the Customs Excise and Management Act (CEMA) and the CRFFN Act with regards to the requirements for obtaining a Customs license, stressing that only CRFFN accredited companies should be granted Customs licenses.
He advised the CRFFN Governing Board to be more proactive in enhancing trade facilitation at ports, especially with the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) so Nigeria doesn’t become the region’s dumping ground for cargoes.
In his remarks, the Chairman of CRFFN Governing Board, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni encouraged APFFLON to withdraw its court case against CRFFN. Tsanni, however, expressed delight at APFFLON’s commitment to tackling industry issues and robust engagements with stakeholders in a bid to improve freight forwarding practice in the country.
The CRFFN Chairman assured that the Governing Board will deliberate extensively on the issues raised by the freight forwarding group.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Media and Publicity at the CRFFN Governing Board, Hon. Muftahu Ya’u advised that all future disputes among freight forwarders should utilize the dispute resolution mechanisms enshrined in the CRFFN Act.
“We have observed that APFFLON has a lot of grievances and the Governing Board Chairman has assured that they will be addressed. The fact that we met with APFFLON means that CRFFN is willing to work with all practitioners.
The Chairman has also said that there will be more interface with APFFLON to have a more seamless environment” “As the Chairman of CRFFN, Tsanni is bound by law to listen to the grievances of all CRFFN registered members either as individuals, companies or associations,” he said.
He also assured that CRFFN will check the requirements needed for registration of associations and grant APFFLON that status if the group meets the stipulations in the CRFFN Act.