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Anxiety as several vehicles trapped at Lagos ports  over VIN policy 

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Abiola Seun

Clearing agents have raised the alarm that several vehicles have been trapped at the Port and Terminal Multiservice Limited (PTML) due to Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy introduced on all imported vehicles by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

The agents under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) called for the cancellation of the policy, saying its not helping the nation’s economy as it lacks predictability and unable to drive revenue.

Speaking to journalists over the weekend, the Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, said the main purpose of VIN valuation for imported vehicles has been defeated, saying thousands of imported vehicles are currently trapped at the seaports.

“We won’t be tired of informing Nigerian government about what is happening in our industry.

“In the last one week, our members are unable to clear vehicles from the port as a result of introduction of VIN policy.
” Let me take you on memory lane, why should we opt for VIN valuation? You will agree with
me that before now, I was one of those that said that there was no uniform value on the clearance of vehicles.
” For example, if you have 2015 Camry in Tin Can, Apapa and PTML,  you will never pay the same duty on them and these vehicles are going to the same market.”

“This is causing serious unease for our members, it’s also encouraging corruption and it is making us not to have predictability.

“One of the first criteria of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is that there must be predictability in Customs clearance.
” Hence, we now say okay, give us uniform value or key in to that of Ghana system, that is how VIN came onboard,” he said.

Farinto said before Customs implement any of its policy, it is expected they will collaborate with stakeholders, especially licensed Customs agents, adding that Customs needs to subject their value to public criticism for stakeholders to have their input.

However, he argued that the introduction of VIN is not helping the economy as it made the clearance of cargo, particularly vehicles impossible in the last few days.

The ANLCA boss said clearing vehicles have become herculean, thereby, making vehicles accumulate storage charges at various port terminals.

“We are calling on Customs to invite us, subject the value to criticism because you cannot shave our (clearing agents) head in our absence.

“The legal notice of 30 days talks about wear and tears rebate once a vehicle is bought in 2022 in America that is when you buy a car in January 1 and you drive it from Houston to Texas to far north, once it is used, it depreciates, 10 per cent depreciation law comes in, same thing everywhere in the whole world. It is a standard thing.
“It is unfortunate that in Nigeria because nobody cries out, importers are left to feel the pains.
” These agents entered into agreement with importers; collecting bill of laden, charge them before the arrival of the vehicles.
” The vehicles arrive now, but the agents are unable to clear them because we are introducing VIN valuation.

“We are not saying you should not introduce VIN valuation. What we are saying is that if you look at the value in the VIN valuation, it is very outrageous.

” For example, I have three examples here, I checked the system and a MAZDA 2007 vehicle, gives over $5000. And what is the value of 2007 vehicle in the market? You can even view it in American market.

“Another one, we have Honda 2013 that was bought between $6000 or $7000 and we access the VIN value that will give you over N2 million as duty and if you convert it to dollars, that is over $15000. These are things that is killing our economy.”

“Another one is 2009 Hunda, which ordinarily, the system is giving over $6000 meanwhile it is less than $2000 when we are even clearing it,” he said.

Farinto insisted that the purpose of embracing the VIN is to make sure it reduce the human to human contact, discourages corruption and create uniform duty.

“Anywhere within Nigeria, the moment you access it through VIN, nobody queries you on the road, no Customs officer will stop you on the road unnecessarily but, because Customs lacks professionalism, I’m  very sure they have not worked  in tandem with the tariff department because If they have worked in tandem with tariff department, all these things would have been harmonise, that is why we are where we are now.”

“As I talk to you now, clearing agents are apprehensive, there are serious agitations because they are unable to clear their vehicles.

” As I talk to you now, there is a total breakdown of system at seaport, nobody can clear vehicles and the issue of Pre Arrival Assessment Result (PAAR) is still there.
“Customs is jacking up PAAR  as if we are in Oyingbo market even the man at Oyingbo market will give his Customers notice that prices will increase,” he lamented.

© 2022, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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