As the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), set to begin collection of the Practitioners’ Operating Fee (POF) from importers and freight forwarders operating at the nation’s seaports, the council said the consultant in charge of the project SW global will earn N1bn annually from the N5billion yearly collection.
The Practitioners Operating Fee, otherwise known as POF, is a compulsory payment for all clearing agents and freight forwarders before being able to evacuate any container from the seaports. Under the POF regime, practitioners are expected to pay N1,000 on a 20ft container and N2,000 on a 40ft container coming through the seaports.
Speaking to journalists last week, the Registrar of the Council, Bar. Samuel Nwakohu had said that N5bn will be generated from the POF.
According to him, 25 percent of the sum accrued would be paid directly to the Federal Government through Treasury Single Account (TSA), and would be channelled towards nation building; 35 percent will go the clearing agents and freight forwarders; the consultant to the project, SW global will get 20 per cent; while CRFFN will get 20 per cent.
However, investigation had shown that N1.250billion will accrue to the federal government while N1billion was given to the consultant, SW Global, an Information Technology driven firm; N1.750billion to clearing agents and freight forwarders while N1billion is to be given to the CRFFN.
Nwakohu said the money would be spent to train practitioners, solve inherent problems in the system, and guard against threats.
Responding to questions from journalists on the services provided by SW Global to validate its 20 percent collection, Nwakohu noted that the private company wasn’t just involved in revenue collection but also engaged in training as well as other services, asserting that the percentage was a fair bargain for the private company.
Nwakohu stressed that paucity of funds at the Council drove him to expedite the completion of the POF collection regime which was initiated by his predecessor.
“On assuming office on the 1st of February, 2019, there was an ongoing project known as the POF which I was made to understand was a viable avenue to raise Internally Generated Revenue for the country and the Council.
He noted that in one year, his leadership with the robust support of the Governing Board, has been able to seek several approvals; getting the ICRC to make a business case, Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval, and integration with relevant agencies like the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
“As at today, I am delighted to say that we have been able to integrate fully with the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Customs Service. We haven’t been able to integrate fully with NCAA, negotiations are still ongoing in that regard”, he said.
“Thereafter, we went to our parent Ministry to revalidate the approvals they gave in the past. The last place we went to was the Ministry of Finance because they are in-charge of monetary affairs. We went to the Ministry of Finance where we requested the Minister to give approval that POF payment should be a condition for cargo exit at the ports and land borders. That application was made around September and they asked for approvals from other federal government authorities and we sent the documents to them and we followed it up.”
“On the 6th of January, this year, the approval was granted and on the 7th, we set out for sensitization. The fact that we commenced sensitization on the 7th, tells you that we had made all the preparations but we had to wait until we got that approval. So, we started sensitization exercise, basically informing stakeholders in the industry, freight forwarders in particular on POF, its function and how it would be collected digitally”,
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