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Nigerian Shippers move against CRFFN

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— threaten court action to stop POF collection

Nigerian Shippers under the aegis of Shippers Association of Lagos
have kicked against the collection of Practitioners Operating
Fee(POF), describing it as illegal and capable of adding to the cost
of doing business at the ports.

It would be recalled that the Council for the Regulation of Freight
Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has commenced the collections of the
controversial fees at the ports.

However, the President of the Shippers Association, Rev. Jonathan
Nicole, warned the CRFFN agents to stay off the cargoes of his members
,stressing that Shippers may be forced to seek legal action to stop
the collection.

The CRFFN has proposed a POF regime that legalised a collection of a
practising fee of N1,000 and N2,000 respectively for 20ft and 40ft
containers from Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers, before the
release of cargoes.

According to Nicol, “every organization have their practitioners fee,
the Guild of Engineers, Medical Association, Nigerian Customs Service
and others, so why is CRFFN’s different”?

“Maybe the nomenclature they used is wrong, every year people pay
their practitioners fee, and without the renewal of license one cannot
practice.

“CRFFN cannot say that they are collecting practitioners fee on
consignment because they are laying a very bad precedent, tomorrow the
Nigerian Medical Association will say practitioners fee is per person
that comes to the hospital.

“That is what it is, and what makes it more complicated is that they
are saying if one or two thousand naira is not paid, freight
forwarders will not be allowed to carry their container,” he said.

Nicole noted that shippers are not part of the arrangement, they are
not benefiting or taking a dime from the fee and so CRFFN should not
use their cargo as defence.

He said that if people who are supposed to pay the fees are saying
that they would not pay, it means that the council have not done their
homework.

“This fee is not meant to be per consignment, but per year,” he said.

The shippers boss said that he had contacted his lawyers to look into
the issue, noting that if he comes out with a very valid argument,
they would react in an appropriate manner.

“We had gone to the council to discuss this issue with them, but we
were told that they are not connecting cargo to the fee but now they
are doing so and this is not acceptable.

“How much are the shippers making that everybody wants them to bear
every brunt, this is so unfortunate,” he said

© 2021, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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