·Registrar says soft launch begins at seaports
sAfter years of prevarication and apprehension, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), has finally commenced collection of the Practitioners Operating Fee (POF).
The Registrar of the Council, Mr Samuel Nwakohu, during the launch of the collection on Monday in Lagos, explained the steps to be taken by freight forwarders to make payments on the CRFFN portal.
He however said what the Council has done is a soft launch and that there will be no full implementation until two to three weeks, with effect from Monday.
The POF is a legal practising fee meant to be paid by freight forwarders, without which they may not be able to pratice.
The POF will see a 20ft container attracting a fee of N1,000 while a 40ft container will attract N2,000 before it can be cleared from the port.
He told journalists at the launch that: “We have worked very hard to make sure the objectives of the POF are effective and achieved
“This soft launch is restricted to the seaport for now; it is a phased thing and we will get to the airport eventually.
“This is also a period to observe the technology; it has been in observation but we should know that there is a difference between the field and things done in the office,” he said.
Nwakohu said that there would be a 16-man response team that would attend to people in case of any issue with the portal.
He said that each account on the portal would have an e-wallet where one could keep funds aside, and in case of any issue, it could be reverted within 48 hours.
The registrar noted that for security reasons during payment, a One-Time Password (OTP) would be generated from the bank, and when that was done, it would enable one to be debited.
The registrar said that the name of the freight forwarder, consignment and description of goods would be on the printout given, and an acknowledgement copy sent to the person’s email.
He said that terminal operators would be provided with an Excel sheet which would be ticked off before one was allowed to carry the cargo out of the port.
“Terminal operators have nothing to do with the process on the portal; the only role they play is to verify the receipt against the control document to ensure one has paid before leaving the port.
“What one needs is to be able to access the portal using their registration number and follow the steps, and the portal accepts all cards for payment
“Very soon, the portal will be accessed through the Google play store for download,” he said.
He also added that there was an environment in the portal that showed the level of activities going on in the port so as to monitor progress.
The CRFFN boss told our correspondent yesterday that at the end of the soft launch, enforcement will be total at all the nation’s seaports, and that non-compliance may have negatively affect the practitioner.
He added that some freight forwarders have been asking for extension of commencement date, but disclosed that the Council has insisted that there as not going back on the soft launch.