The Federal Government has again slammed a new charge on clearing agents and freight forwarders operating at Nigeria’s seaports, tagged: “Practitioners Operating Fee”, to shore up its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
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.
The Registrar, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (CRFFN), Samuel Nwakohu, in a chart with journalists yesterday, said the fee would take off “any moment from now” at the seaports, while the airports would follow suit in a not-too-distant future.
Nwakohu said there have been proper engagement and enlightenment for the clearing agents and freight forwarders on the importance of the fee to the development of their businesses and the industry as a whole.
He noted that the POF would be collected electronically and not manually, while the practitioners must show evidence of payment before they can take any container out from the seaports.
“We are ready and hoping that any moment from now, POF will go on live. It is not going to be business as usual. It will be a very difficult business for a freight forwarder if you have not registered with CRFFN, because technology will enforce it and not human beings,” he said.
He said yearly revenue of N5 billion has projected, but expressed optimism that due to the type technology deployed, it may exceed the target.
He explained that 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 will get 20 per cent; while CRFFN will get 20 per cent.
Nwakohu said the money would be spent to train practitioners, solve inherent problems in the system, and guard against threats.
On the POF increasing the cost of doing business at the ports, he said the fee would rather reduce cost, because it would spent on train of clearing agents and freight forwarders, who, hitherto, would need to engage the services of a professional to handle the digital operational system, thereby saving them cost.