The Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN) has confirmed that nothing was stopping it from collecting the much-expected Practitioners Operating Fee (POF).
Registrar of the Council, Barrister Samuel Nwakohu, gave this assurance while speaking with Shipping Position Daily.
He disclosed that the CRFFN was still integrating the process leading to the collection with agencies like the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, and others.
The CRFFN is expected to rake in as much as N10 billion annually from the collection of N1,000 on every imported 20-foot container and N2,000 on every 40-foot container. CRFFN will also collect N1,000 per truck load of general cargo, N500 per imported car and N1,000 on other types of imported vehicles. This is apart from collection on wet cargo export.
The CRFFN Registrar told our correspondent that: "On the issue of the POF, nothing is stopping the collection; integration is in progress because we are not doing it manually. We are integrating with NPA, Customs and NCAA".
He also warned that the agency will deregister any freight forwarder who fail to obtain the basic training that is required for the profession by 2021.
"If after 2021 and some of them are not still trained, what will happen is obvious; the person will be deregistered, it is obvious"
"If after then, you have not been trained you will be deregistered, you will be encouraged to do so. Because if you put a deadline without a sanction it will never work"
He maintained that untrained freight forwarders will not be allowed into the ports after 2021.
"I am not afraid to said that, you will be deregistered that's all, you can't get into the ports", he added.
He however said that the Council having recently held a training in Dubai for the governing council members and the management, it will start the second batch of training which will be for freight forwarders.
"If you go back to the Act, you will see that the training of freight forwarders is utmost, we have finished the Dubai training which was for governing council and management"
Explaining further, he said that training of freight forwarders will help boost the nation's economy.
"Our next port of call is going to be the entire staff and we have set up the machinery to also train the freight forwarders themselves. Because they are the people the Act says we must build their capacity. Because if we do, then they must improve the economy of the country"
He expressed optimism that freight forwarders will come out for training once they are called.
"You know we all live to learn, so I don't see anybody resisting learning. People have this erroneous belief that freight forwarders will not want to learn, why won't them love to learn?"
"I strongly believe that once we call them to come they will we have had quite a number of trainings and train the trainer, we have also had the executive training. I believe they will come to train after all their bosses paid to be trained", he said.
Speaking on the several court cases against the council, he admitted that the CRFFN at the moment has seven court cases.
Nwakohu added that the council has agreed in the last board to ensure that the cases between freight forwarders and the council be resolved before the next meeting.
"I think we have seven cases at the moment and in my view some of them are frivolous. During the last board meeting, it was resolved that most of those cases which were brought by freight forwarders themselves must be withdrawn before the next board meeting", he confirmed.