•Blamed Customs Hasty Implementation Of Policy
•As Thousands Of Vehicles Abandoned at Nigerian Ports
By Silas Onuoha
At the just concluded MAJAN roundtable discussions with the stakeholders representatives of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANALCA),African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics in Nigeria (APFFLON), National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) and Maritime journalist.
Freight forwarders, Importers has called for the appointment of Career Customs Officers as Comptrollers General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to avoid unnecessary trade bottlenecks in the system which well grounded Career Officers would not infuse into the system.
The stakeholders blamed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for hurriedly implementing the policy without the statutory 90 days notice usually given to stakeholders before new policies are introduced into the system.
“Nigeria Customs Service has failed to keep to the earlier advertised assurance of a test-run of the policy in one port before making it universal. As a result, no room for the fine-tuning of noticed hitches.
The major problem with VIN- valuation is the clearance of non standard vehicles, those whose data and history are not captured in Customs valuation portal. As a result owners of such vehicles or their agents are compelled to interface with Customs Officers, many of whom are using such opportunities to exploit”,they lamented.
According to Rev. Clinton Okoro, Public Relations Officer (PRO) African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics in Nigeria (APFFLON), Tincan Chapter, Customs has violated its decision to first test-run the policy before going full blast.
“If the service had stuck to what it canvassed earlier at the sensitization forum in Abuja, the VIN valuation system would have gone side by side with manual implementation until everything is perfected.
Now with the piled up demurrage, no one is looking into how to alleviate the burden as the delays are neither caused by the importer or his agent. As a result of the huge demurrage and high duty, importers abandoned their vehicles in the port as the business is now unprofitable”, Okoro said.
Charting the way forward, the stakeholders called on the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to go back to the drawing board and harmonize its operations in ensuring that non-standard vehicles are accommodated in the valuation portal, and provide valuation chart and data for all categories of vehicles including their history, to serve as a guide for all and sundry to prevent anyone shortchanging the system.
Also to stick to the 12 years age limit for vehicles it had canvassed before the introduction of the scheme instead of the 9 years presently obtainable. A situation where the duty of common automobiles such as Gulf, Toyota Corolla and Martix has gone up from N300,000 to N500,000 it used to be, to N1.0 million to N1.3 million is unacceptable as it has made vehicles unaffordable to ordinary Nigerians
And henceforth, government to ensure that only Career Customs Officers are appointed as Comptrollers General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to avoid unnecessary trade bottlenecks in the system which well grounded Career Customs Officers would not infuse into the system.