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VREG: Agents allege double standard, network failure, extortions

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Segun Oladipupo

Freight forwarders and clearing agents at the Tincan Port Complex in Lagos have accused operators of National Vehicle Registration (VREG) of deliberate extortion of vehicle importers in the port.

The group, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) speaking through the Public Relations Officer of the chapter, Onome Monije said that the network to the portal had been inaccessible since last week.

Monije, in a chat with our correspondent, stated that the system has been giving agents and importers sleepless nights as they have to keep awake monitoring availability of network which she said would disappear within a short time if the network is eventually found.

As a result, the group decried accumulated demurrage, alleging that shipping companies and terminal operators may be paying some royalty as commission to them that could have led to them frustrating operation of the system.

Recall that in April, 2020, the federal government commenced moves to create VREG, an information system that will curb evasion of duty payment on imported vehicles and eliminate the sale of stolen, accidents and unsafe vehicles from the Nigerian market.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed announced the commencement of the pilot phase at the Nigeria Customs Service, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal command in Lagos.

She explained that the platform would be used for information interchange on nationwide vehicle registration, ownership, history and.proper road traffic regulation and violation of enforcement between key government agencies.

But clearing agents have said that the platform has failed to live up to expectations since its introduction in 2020.

Monije said, “We are having a pressing challenge With VREG, under the ministry of Finance since last week,their portal had been down, no network to log in, we just can’t work since  the introduction of Vreg.

” For all consignments with chassis/serial number, it is mandatory for us to first do VREG registration, payment and print the certificate before we can proceed to Customs portal for Duty assessment as VREG link had been integrated with that of Customs.

“As a result of the above, we don’t sleep in the night  as we search for network, sometime it comes up within 2am and 3am  and it is very slow and poor in-between on and off and any little mistake, double wahala, to cancel  amend or correct can take us one week.

“That  bring us to the issue and question of who should  do Vreg. If you check their icon there is 1.importer 2. Agent 3. NGO etc because they are only interested in the money aspect ,only the Agent icon is working, yet because of network problem.

“Vreg procedure will require us to contact importer to write them for cancellation and the new agent reapply and pay another fresh payment,making it multiple payment on same vehicle.

” We are requesting and  pleading to ministry of finance or their  consultant  to open the link icon for importers to pay directly.

“It is also important Vreg should have office in lagos and all the ports for effective working relationship.

“The most painful aspect  is that  nobody is telling us what the issue with network is with Vreg and demurrages is on the increase. Maybe shipping companies and terminal operators are  paying royalty as commission to them” she alleged.

© 2022, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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