‘’We Are not Opposed To The Collection Of The PoF By CRFFN’ ’- Nwabunike , ANLCA President

By Stephen Ubanna

Those who think that the  leadership of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, are opposed to the  Abubakar Tsani, a retired Army Colonel ,,led   Council For Registration of Freight Forwarders of N,  collecting the Practitioners operating fee, PoF, would be disappointed.

Only recently, Boniface Aniebonam, founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders ,  NAGAFF, had said that  ANLCA,  under the close watch of  Tony  Iju  Nwabuike had said that the Association   is  opposed to the PoF  as against  other  sister  Associations which supports the payment of the fee  to facilitate  the training of the younger  generation agents on the basic rudiments of Clearing.

The AGAFF, founder had further criticized  Nwabunike,  the ANLCA,  President, who incidentally was the peioneer Chairman , of the CRFFN, of  being responsible  for attracting government interest into the Council which ordinarily should be   a purely private Organisation by turning into a government agency.

The Value News had confronted  Nwbunike , the ANLCA President, who has succeeded in putting his House in order by bringing together  all the warring factions  tearing the Association  apart to a round table discussion, over the weighty allegations. He considered the NAGAFF , founder allegations laughable, stressing  that if there is any Association  that actually  supports the collection of the PoF, by CRFFN, it ANLCA is one of them .  ‘’We did not oppose the collection of the PoF’’, he had said.

In an a short  interview with the Magazine ,barely one hour  of his return from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territor, FCT, where he had led  the ANLCA , Executive  to pay a courtesy call on Gbemisola Saraki, a former Senator, Federal Reublic of Nigeria and minister of state, Transportation.

 Nwabunike and his Executives , may have considered it necessary to visit  the minister as Rotimi Amechi, a former governor of Rivers  state, the minister of Transportation had shared  the ministerial job. He had  given to himself the responsibility of  overseeing the  unpland Railways Transport sector of the ministry  while  he handed over all  matters relating to the nationan’s maritime sector to  Senator Saraki, the minister of state.

Boniface Aniebonam: Founder, NAGAFF

A source who was privy to the meeting  disclosed that the ANLCA  President took advantage of the closed door meeting with the minister to chip  in their stand on the PoF.  He   had told the Magazine  that the Association has  made its position known to CRFFN  . According to him, the Association  has  sent a position paper to the Council stating  that the only way it could get 100% of its support, is that  the PoF, must be judiciously used  for the training of agents.   

Note that NAGAFF, may have taken advantage  of its closeness to Tsani, the Council Chairman, to ensure  that members  follow religiously every directive of the Council. IT was therefore not very surprising  that when  the Council called for the  registration of Practitioners  and be issued with  their identity card numbers  in order to  enable  them   have access to its website, to do their business at the seaports, with ease, NAGAFF , members turned  out in their large number to  authenticate their membership . Aniebonam confirmed that of the 1,300 registered members of the Council,  the Association alone has 1,100 members  on the list , leaving  Nwabunike led ANLCA, National Council of Managing Directors  of Licensed Customs Agents , NCMDLCA, and other Associations to jostle  for the remaining  200 members on the list.

Many believe that  now that the  ANLCA , leadership,  has come out to state  their  stand on the PoF, which had been the main reason, for not given  members the go ahead to register, the Council  may be forced  to   review the list in order to accommodate other  Association members  who may  want to register now.

 Already,  the Council  was said to said to have  talking about the registration and issuance of Identity Card number with the Customs Authorities over with the Customs Authorities to use it as a yardstick to review practitioners  operating lincence. Moreso,  the technical partners  for the PoF collection , SW Global  Limited  has made it clear to those that cares to listen  that Freight Forwarders  who have not registered with the Council  may not be allowed to make the payment , let alone access the port to exit their importers’ cargo. The ‘’20’’ Container attracts N1000.00 while the ‘’40’’ Container attracts N2,0000.00.

According to  the Company officials: to pay for the PoF ,, the practitioner must be a registered  Freight Forwarder  with membership number . The Company noted  that such a Practitioner  must  have complete up to date  payment of all subscription  dues,  and must not be indebted to the Council in any way.

The Company was said to have   given the payment of the PoF  and subscription dues,  as a pre-condition  for accessing  the CRFFN, Wwebsite , in order to login in their  membership number  and provide  the bill of laden Number , to be able to know   the applicable fee  to pay for  a particular cargo, before payment could be made.

Given that no Practitioner would want to loose  his or her operating license,  may force  ANLCA and NCMD, members  to comply with the Council orders of registering with it. Between  2017 and now, past and present ministers of Finance  and National Economy, batptised  ministry of Finance, Planning and Budgets had, piled up pressure on the  council leadership to put the necessary  machinery in motion that could facilitate the collection  of the PoF but that was how far the ministers couldgo.

Maritime watchers believe that the  Council had delayed the collection of the PoF, over the years because of the subvention it was getting from the government as one of its agencies. But Nwabunike , the pioneer Chairman of  the Council  said the government subvention to run the Council was not unexpected  as it was contained in the Act setting   it up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007. He noted that  the  minister of Transportation was made   the supervising  minister  as the Council was given the mandate to devise ways of generating revenue to carry out its operations , particular, for Capacity Building.

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