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Collection of POF is illegal and exploitative

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By Segun Musa
The CRFFN Board and our amiable Honorable Minister of Transport need to task their brains on creating a sustainable genuine economy that would fund this agency if the Federal government does not have the capacity for funding, instead of taxing the already overtaxed citizens.
POF is nothing but an instrument to further impoverished our young struggling practitioners.
Interestingly, I am the architect of the birth of this nomenclature during the days of misunderstandings between my association and a sister association at the airport on how to mutually enhance fair sharing to benefits our members contributing from proceeds of their hard-earned incomes from their daily jobs to the association’s pool account at the airport.
Anybody having a contrary idea of how this came into the limelight should come out and give details.
When the CRFFN, through the POF sponsors that thought of taking our members’ contributions to the board for fair sharing would be the solution, I resisted it because the government does not share revenue proceeds with any private sectors and whoever is advocating to gazette such is only deceiving you because it would never last if at all you are able to jump-start it.
 I would like to use the airport as a case study.
Our members contributed token voluntarily out of their hard-earned profits to save for rainy days to the association’s pool. Interestingly, we have independent members and some multinationals that do not contribute because it is voluntary with no compulsion.
While serving as a Chairman at the airport, I pulled out my association from the arrangement and stopped the collections as a protest and all this is to justify that the arrangement is nothing but voluntary.
The essence of this arrangement is to ensure that members in need can get adequate supports from the pool they had contributed or contributing to when they had the opportunity at the time/points of needs
The same way governments of most viable countries of the world do support their working citizens when they are out of work to cater for a few of their immediate urgent needs.
This is not to justify that all leaders managing the funds always do justice to the disbursements
Unfortunately, few individuals out of self-interest decided to use the strength of the Federal government to hijack public voluntary contributions without minding what becomes of the contributors at the end of the day nor thinking of what becomes of the associations with this great lofty idea, especially during the painful time of needs?
It is on records that only at the airport that we do not carry exercise books around begging for assistance at the point of emergency because we have proactive leaders managing the pool effectively on behalf of their members.
I am not unaware that some Freight forwarders at the Seaports who have not put similar measures in place might not be able to comprehend or feel the pains of few stakeholders that have selflessly put this system in place at the airport for the benefits of members.
I think that seems to be the singular reason why some of them are in full support of the fraudulent POF collection.
I singularly believe it is better for associations to work with their feeder cadres at chapter levels to generate more voluntary contributions for the benefits of their associations and their members than allowing the government to legitimise illegality and hijack little efforts from the chapters just because of sweet promises that would never come to reality (speaking from experiences in engagements with the government)
The brain behind the formation of CRFFN
Is to gather think-tank groups in the holistic freight transport businesses which include all cluster groups like shipping liners, transporters, freight forwarders, supply chain managers, terminal operators, customs brokers, maritime lawyers, airliners, aviation ground handlers, GSAs, Vessel charterers, Vessel Owners, Courier operators and all other relevant operators to developed framework ingredients on documents guided by the established articles of the CRFFN Act to enhance knowledge acquisition, professionalism, promotions of high ethical standards in business and profession, fostering synergies amongst players and above all to elevate Nigeria to the high level of global best practices and standards in the committee of nations.
With the aforementioned, where does tax collection comes in?
I have painfully listened to few self-centered individuals trying to smuggle out or twist some articles of the CRFFN Act to mean collections of tax for the government for the purpose of financing budgets and it is most unfortunate how people blackmail our government as an insensitive regime.
This is not only shameful for private business people that should be concentrating on their core competencies rather than devoting their precious time looking for how the government would take advantage of already over-taxed citizens to steal from them again just for a token commission.
If CRFFN has lost relevance and felt that the only way to survive is to tax members rather than task their brains, I would gladly like to be the first person to move for the cancellation of this Council if we can not ensure we put like-minds in the board with full knowledge of what the CRFFN Act stands to achieved as a primary priority and stop this misplacement of priority.
I can not ignore some great members of the CRFFN Board and some Management staff who are doing wonderfully well to carry on the crusade of professionalism despite all odds and especially lack of sufficient funding from the federal government.
These great minds are definitely not on the same page with few who are trying to use the platform to exploit innocent citizens that do not know their rights.
Once again, any terminal or warehouse operator that stops the operations of freight forwarders at any gateway would not only pay for damages but would also be blackmailed globally.
Why we await our amiable Honorable Minister of Transport and his colleagues Hon. Minister of Finance, Auditor General of the Federation and Attorney General of the federation who were allegedly said to have promoted, sponsored, prepared and endorsed the RED Gazette to enforce fraudulent revenue collections to come and defend the insensitive gazette publicly, we can call on all our critical stakeholders to see this collection as wishful thinking.

Segun Musa is an independent Transport Planner and Public Analyst

© 2021, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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