Registrar laments inconsistent N2.7million monthly overhead outlay
By Kenneth Jukpor
The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has said that it would generate not less than N5billion yearly from the collection of Practitioners’ Operating Fees (POF).
The Registrar of CRFFN, Barr. Samuel Nwakohu revealed this during a press briefing yesterday, even as he noted that the figures could exceed the N5million fiscal projection which was done by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
Nwakohu also lamented the Council suffered inadequate funding in his first one year as Registrar, noting that in 2019 CRFFN only received its N2.7million monthly funding for overhead for eight months.
The CRFFN boss highlighted POF as the agency’s major source of generating revenue, whilst carrying out its mandate in the industry as the regulator of freight forwarding practice.
He said, “You must have heard me on several occasions talk about inadequate funding for CRFFN. My overhead to run the Council is N2.7 million per month and it is not regular. I think for last year, we either had seven or eight months, the revenues don’t come as at when due. So, it becomes extremely difficult to run the Council.”
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”, Nwakohu explained.
Although the CRFFN Governing Board Chairman, Mr. Abubakar Tsanni recently stated that the collection of POF would commence on February 3rd, 2019, the CRFFN Registrar only assured that the agency was ready to start collection of POF even as the technical partners, SW Global had created a reliable online platform for payment of the fund.