A battle line may have been drawn between the Nigeria Shippers’ Council and organised Freight Forwarding associations in the country over stoppage of the collection of the Practitioners’ Operating Fee (POF).
Speaking to journalists, the President of the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN), Frank Ukor and the Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr Boniface Aniebonam said the Shippers’ Council have no statutory power to stop the collection of the fee.
They explained further that what the Council had asked for was for the association to stop collecting the fee at the port so as not to disturb port operations.
According to Ukor, the Nigeria Shippers’ Council should wait until court matter is disposed off before making any statement on the matter.
Ukor also accused ANLCA of collecting illegal fee at the eastern and airports across the country. He however said that was what was stopped.
“The council should wait until the court matter is disposed of. Shippers Council stop illegal collections at the port, go to eastern port and airport you will see that ANLCA is still collecting money. It is only the Minister that can stop POF. So how can Shippers Council stop it. They stop illegal collections going on at the port and not POF,” Ukor said.
Also speaking, the Founder of NAGAFF, Boniface Aniebonam explained that the council did not stopped the collection of POF rather it said it should be collected in respective associations secretariat.
Aniebonam who said the Council has no power to stop the collection. He stated further that the council only said the fee cannot be collected in the port.
“Shippers Council did not stop collection of POF. They did not say so but only said it should not be collected inside the port and if they want to continue to collect through CRFFN, it must be done in a manner that it must not disturb port operation.
“The fee should be collected either as an inbuilt collection or taxes. The fee should be organised but associations mounting road block or barricade at the port because they want to collect a fee was not allowed.
He however stated that the council was not asking association not to collect their dues but saying it should be done in an orderly manner.
“That is exactly what they are saying and the right thing to be done,” he said on phone.
When contacted, the National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu said he could not comment on POF because his association was already in court challenging the collection.
Recall that the Council last week banned professional fees collection by all associations at the ports.
The council gave this order through the Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello at a Town Hall meeting with stakeholders at Eastern Ports, Port Harcourt on Monday.
He said the proper place for such revenue drive is the organisation’s secretariat and not the port.