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Freight forwarders set agenda for Buhari govt

Middle- Prince Olayiwola Shittu, ANLCA President. Left. Dr. Kayode Farinto, National  Publicity Secretary, ANLCA Right. Ismail Aniemu, MARCON  President.

L-R: Dr. Kayode Farinto, National Publicity Secretary, ANLCA; Prince Olayiwola Shittu, ANLCA President (M) and Ismail Aniemu, MARCON President

Josephine Odum-John

L-R: Dr. Kayode Farinto, National Publicity Secretary, ANLCA; Prince Olayiwola Shittu, ANLCA President (M) and Ismail Aniemu, MARCON  President
L-R: Dr. Kayode Farinto, National Publicity Secretary, ANLCA; Prince Olayiwola Shittu, ANLCA President (M) and Ismail Aniemu, MARCON President

Freight forwarders’ under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) have come out with a list of demands to the new Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari which when implemented, will improve trading and bring the maritime sector in the country at par with other maritime nations in the developed world.

Presenting the list of demands for the government at a round table discussion with Maritime Correspondent Organisation of Nigeria (MARCON) in Lagos on Thursday, ANLCA President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu charged the incoming minister of transport under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government on the need to first address issues around the crisis rocking the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).

Shittu averred that the Practitioners Operating Fees (POF) being collected by CRFFN remains illegal.

He said it was as a result of the illegality that led to the delay by the former minister of transport to assent to the collection and sharing formula.

The ANLCA boss, stated among other things, that the CRFFN Act needs to be reviewed by the government because, according to him, there is a lot of lacuna in the act enshrined in the council’s constitution.

He also urged the government to indigenise customs brokers and lamented that all the jobs meant for indigenes are being taken away by foreigners.

He said that if something is done urgently in this regard, the unemployment level in the country will reduce to 35 percent.

Shittu, who was accompanied by the association’s National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Kayode Farinto, to MARCON press centre venue of the roundtable, added that the Act was deliberately orchestrated by some concerned interest group.

He noted that the council’s Act and the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) needed to be scrutinised for the benefit of practitioners to understand their respective duties as both freight forwarders and licensed customs agents.

“There are lot of issues in the CRFFN Act that will be looked into because we have customs brokers who are privileged to be elected into the highest decision making body in the country.”

However, the president noted that collection of the Practitioners Operating Fees (POF) is illegal, maintaining that it is the reason the immediate past transport minister, Senator Idris Umar’s refusal to approve it until the last minute.

“Let me tell you, the money collected is illegal in the first place . That fact has been established, that was why the immediate past minister refused to give the go ahead until the last minute just like the way they passed other bills in the National Assembly.

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“People are standing on a level of illegality but we say we don’t want to go that way,” he stated.

He noted that the constitution of Nigeria states that all revenues accruing to all arms of government should go to the Federation Account.

He reiterated that the salaries, allowances and other benefits of CRFFN is being paid by the government hence there is no need for revenue generation because they are civil servants.

Shittu described the current issues surrounding collection of the POF as a moral war among practitioners, adding that there is honour even among thieves.

“When the four associations say they are equal before the law, that sharing must be equal. We said ‘OK, fine, go and pay then take all, we are not interested to pay and we will not take.'”

He explained that other associations can go ahead and collect the fee but they should leave ANLCA members out of the collection.

Shittu alleged that the four other associations do not have the weight, strength and members that can pay, stressing that 90% of those involved in the payment to the fee are members of his association.

He also debunked claims that ANLCA agreed on the sharing formula of the POF, saying it was the Registrar of the Council that suggested to the minister about the sharing formula.

Shittu maintained that ANLCA is an institution that does not have founder.

“Other sister associations have founders who operate their association at their whims and caprices. ANLCA is the only association that conducts elections.”

Dr. Farinto noted that ANLCA has been supporting CRFFN since the past two to three years, adding that all the leadership of other association emerged from ANLCA.

He explained that “you cannot compare an association that has been in existence for a very long time with those which are between 2 years and 3 years old. We have good understanding with every one of them.”

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