By Steve Agbota
Clearing agents and freight forwarders have decried 6, 000 imported vehicles trapped at the Apapa, Tin-Can Island and Terminal Multiservice Limited (PTML) due to Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy introduced by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for clearing imported vehicles into the country.
The agents under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) have called for the cancellation of the policyon the condition that VIN valuation remains outrageous and not helping the nation’s economy due to it lack of predictability and inability to drive revenue.
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Addressing newsmen in Lagos at the weekend, ANLCA Vice President, Dr. Kayode Farinto, said the purpose of VIN valuation for imported vehicles has been defeated even as 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 have been unable to clear vehicles from the port as a result of introduction of VIN by Customs. Let me take you down memory lane on why we should not 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 is also encouraging corruption and 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 to key into Ghana’s system, that is how VIN came onboard,” he said.
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He added that before Customs implements any of its policy, it is expected they will collaborate with stakeholders’ especially licensed Customs agents, adding that Customs needs to subject itsvalue to public scrutiny for stakeholders to have their input.
Farinto argued that the introduction of VIN was not helping the economy as it made the clearance of cargo particularly vehicles stagnant in the last few days.
The ANLCA boss said clearing vehicles have become an Herculean task, 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 talks about wear and tears rebate once a vehicle is bought in 2022 in America that is, when you buy a car on 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.”