Outrage as CRFFN splashes N448million on Hilux vehicles for board members 

ZION Olalekan     |
There was a wide spread anger among some freight forwarders in the maritime industry over the purchase of Hilux  2017 model vehicles distributed  to the 32-members board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
Sources claimed that the sum of N448million was used to secured the vehicles at the cost of  N14 million each.
It was also alleged that the money was a loan from the bank secured in the anticipation of the collection of Practitioners Operations fees (POF) said to be used as collateral.
It could be recalled that the Federal  Executive Council has approved the collection of the POF by the Council which would be shared on the ratio of 60 :30.
The CRFFN takes the 60 percent,  while the federating associations share the 30 percent.
‘It was in the anticipation of the collection of this levy from freight forwarders that the loan was secured to purchase the vehicles’, a source close to the council claimed.
However,  another source claimed that the vehicles were secured from the budgetary allocation to the council and that they were only given to the chairmen of the committees to facilitate their assignment.

One of the board members who pleaded anonymity confirmed to our correspondent that all chairmen of various committees on the board as well as many others have already received their own vehicles, while the rest is yet to be delivered.

Sources in the Council also confirmed to our correspondent that the vehicles were purchased on credit, with the hope of repaying the debts when the Council realise money from POF collection at the ports.

Meanwhile, criticism have started trailing the CRFFN, even as Customs brokers lamented that after almost one year in office, the Council has not made any meaningful changes in the sector.

Speaking with our correspondent, a frontline Customs Broker at Tin Can Island Port, Alhaji Akanni Balogun berated the board members, saying that most of them are on the board for personal interests.

He asked that  members of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) be removed from the CRFFN because they are being regulated by Nigeria Customs Service which is under the Ministry of Finance.

Speaking on the alleged incapabilities of the CRFFN board members, Balogun queried that “What aspect of the profession have they intervened, shipping companies and terminal operators are overcharging us, CRFFN have never intervened, they don’t even know what is happening in the ports. They have never visited any port to see what is going on, but they want to start collecting money”

“Let them continue, we are watching them”

“If you are given a new vehicle, won’t you like it? This is why I said that those who are in the board are there for their personal interests”

“Since they got into that office, what have they done to assist the clearing agents? They are there creating confusion in the industry, why is it that they are only bent on collecting POF from the port”

‘It clearly shows that the council members are
there to feather their own nest. They are not ready to solve the operational challenges of the freight forwarders from whom they want to collect this money. What they are after is the POF. We are waiting for them” another stakeholder said in an ominous voice.
Attempt to get the chairman of the Council, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni,  prove abortive as his line did not connect.
However, one of his aides debunked the allegation, saying it was all lies

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