THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT has warned APM terminals in Apapa and others to comply with the government’s freight forwarders’ regulation on the collection of practitioners’ operating fees, or POF.
Speaking at a meeting between officials from the Ministry of Transportation, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders, and terminal operators in Lagos over the weekend, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, said that since the policy’s implementation on February 24, 2021, some terminal operators have failed to comply with the agreement reached, resulting in revenue loss to the country.
Ajani stated that the ministry could no longer tolerate the terminal operators’ activities, saying that the ministry’s mission was to guarantee that government policies were followed.
According to her, if there is a failure to conform, the ministry is left with no choice but to consider the consequences of such policy disobedience in the future.
She said the ministry had given terminal operators two months to key into the collection of POF, after which sanctions would be applied for those who failed to abide.
Ajani stated that one of the importance of the POF was that it would enhance the fortunes of freight forwarding in Nigeria.
She pointed out that the POF would promote global competitiveness and build capacity for effective participation in the new Africa Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.
She said: “It became necessary for us to have this interactive session. CRFFN is saddled with the responsibility of developing a comprehensive freight forwarding policy and promoting freight forwarding as a career as well as providing an enabling environment for freight forwarding business, with a view to creating job opportunities for Nigerians.
“One of the key measures of enhancing the fortunes of freight forwarding in Nigeria is the implementation of the POF that is designed to ensure sustainable funding of the freight forwarding venture in the country.”
“It is relevant to note that the POF will promote global competitiveness and build capacity for effective participation in the new Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA.
“For us to actualise the goals and the objectives of POF, a couple of things were put in place by the council; the council has put in place a robust electronic payment application system for the collection of the POF.
‘’This system is well built and, therefore, enables the freight forwarders to generate invoices for imports and exports, make payment for generated invoices and view comprehensive report of transaction on the council’s portal, so this makes it transparent for anybody who has to pay this.
“The application also serves as a data base for determining the numbers of cargoes coming in and out of the ports. It’s also designed in such a way that invoices can be generated through self-services.
“It is relevant to note that since CRFFN came onboard on February 24, 2021, some terminal operators have failed to comply and that means loss of revenue to Nigeria, and the ministry cannot keep silence concerning this”.
Speaking directly to the defaulting terminal operators, she said: “We would like to know why you have decided not to comply or partially comply, so that we know what the challenges are, but it is pertinent for us to note that the job of the ministry is to ensure that government policies are adhered to and where there is failure of adherence, it leaves us with no choice but to look at the sanctions that could follow such disobedience of policy in the future.