Agents to pay operating fees before clearing goods
LL goods to be cleared at the ports are to attract mandatory payment of Practitioners Operating Fee, according to the Council for the regulation of Freight Forwarding in nigeria. The CRFFN said the fee was approved by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, in a letter dated January 6 and signed by the Director, Home Finance, Okokon udo.
under the regime, importers clearing a-20ft container will have to pay N1,000; 40ft container, N2,000; N3.50 per tonne of cargo and N1.50 per kilo of cargo coming by air.
It would be recalled that the CRFFN and leaders of Customs agents and freight forwarders’ associations had been on the negotiating table on how to implement the POF.
Over the years, the issue had been on the sharing formula between the CRFFN and associations of practitioners.
In 2017, the Federal Government stepped into the conflict by directing the association of nigerian Licensed Customs agents to pay the fees to the CRFFN.
But anlca vowed not to comply with the directive, claiming that payment of the fee to the CRFFN would amount to additional cost with negative multiplier effects on the economy.
Kicking against the directive, the anlca President, Olayiwola Shittu, said licensed Customs agents were already paying
N215,000 annual licence renewal fee, N6,000 annual Nigerian Ports Authority licence renewal fee, N15,000 annual Customs command operating fee, N52,500 bank charges for Customs bond, N70,000 CRFFN annual payment, among others.
According to Shittu, daily payment of the POF will be burdensome on a Customs agency/company which, when transferred to importers/exporters, would adversely affect the economy.
“We want to state categorically that nowhere is such payment as Practitioner’s Operating Fee being collected from a Customs agent/broker.
“Nigeria being a growing economy should not be saddled with the Practitioner’s Operating Fee, which is the design of some few individuals to distort the national economy for their selfish interests.”
Shittu had appealed to the Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to suspend the fee collection to avoid problem.
Also, ANLCA’S National Publicity Secretary, Dr Kayode Farinto, said the matter was before the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.
ANCLA, he said, was challenging the ministry’s initial directive on the payment of the fee, urging amaechi to wait for the judgment before introducing a new fee.
However, the associations appear to have lost the fight against implementation of the POF.