The Acting president of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Farinto addressing the press.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The brouhaha generated by the introduction of the Vehicle Identification Number which is a process that uses certain information about the vehicle to calculate and issue the acruable duty on a vehicle seems to have died down and the vehicle import and clearing processes have resumed promptly. It is in light of the issues surrounding the process that the Acting President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto called a press conference to do an appraisal of the process that has been in place for over a month now.
Dr. Farinto says that in any normal circumstance, any process that is introduced is usually after sometime, whether three or six months checked for its workability, seemlessness or lack of these. He initially commended the members of the Freight Forwarding Community for their maturity and cooperation and perseverance in the face of the teething problems that were associated with the introduction of the regime over time as he went on to lay the foundation for this appraisal one month after it took off.
He started by explaining that there are two types of vehicles being cleared, the standard chassis vehicle and the non-standard chassis vehicle and that the standard chassis vehicles which are those manufactured from 2011 upwards have been giviing them easy access of clearance as you only need to present your bill of laden with the number as well as the chassis number keyed into the system to reveal the value of duty to be paid on that particular vehicle. He also explained that they have been having problems with the non-standard vehicles for various reasons which are partly that these are vehicles that come from Europe or Asia and do not fall into the 17 digits VIN category. He says that when you input your data for the non-standard vehicles into the system, you get an error reply and then you have to apply to the Customs Area Controller for the valuation of the vehicle because the law only allows vehicles manufactured from 2011 upwards into the country and that puts the non-standard vehicles which were manufactured before then into abeyance, so there lies the major problem. The Customs still allows these classes of vehicles in because of the economic situation in the country and so he would want to use the opportunity to appeal to the federal government to review their policy on the age of vehicles to be imported from 12 years to 15 years because some 2009 vehicles when imported incurre duties to the tune of #1.5million and these are the categories of vehicles that the youth and middle income earners can afford for car hailing business. The ANLCA president also asked the government to look into the matter of the levies paid on each category of vehicle with a view to bringing it down from 15% to 5% in order to ameliorate the sufferings of the people even though that everyone knows that the government needs money.
Tin Can Chapter of ANLCA PRO, Onome Monije at the briefing.
He stated that there are some categories of vehicles that are not captured in the VIN valuation noting that he had earlier advocated that the government run this regime first as a pilot scheme before the final implementation, but that the advice was not taken.
Dr. Farinto categorically stated that his Association is in the process of compiling the names of the Customs personnel and Commands that are in the habit of frustrating the legitimate activities of members who after going through the process of the VIN valuation are being extorted of their money by some officers of the Customs, he says that the association will brook no such attitude as their names will be forwarded to the Controller of Customs office for proper action. He also used the medium to warn any freight forwarder who believes that they can circumvent the VIN valuation process as he asked them to try and fully comply. He said that the proper functioning of the VIN valuation is a precursor to the automation of the whole process that take place in Customs operation. While he noted that the system is not yet perfect, he commended the efforts of the Customs Area Controller of the Tin Can Command of the Nigeria Customs Service for his promptness in action and his proactive gestures in calling officers of the command and issuing guidelines on quick resolution of any issue.
Dr. Farinto also digressed a bit into the issue of the vehicle registration of simply VREG as it is known which is a baby of the federal ministry of finance and said that it is becoming problematic in operation as it is the first process to go through before the VIN valuation, but that it has become almost totally frustrating in its implementation as network issues with service providers and other factors seem to be overwhelming the process. He said ” We are taking inventory of events as the VREG seems to be delaying the process of our members in trying to clear their vehicles, we cannot pay for other people’s insefficiency and so we will do all in our power to help our members, we are looking at taking the federal ministry of finance to court over this problem”.
He posited in a question and answer session that there are indegenious experts and firms that can handle this process of the VREG which has caused so much money and pain to the country as he asked the government to review the terms of the contract giving a foreign firm the right to provide the network service to the federal ministry of finance in this area. He also condemned the nepotic and indiscriminate award of contracts to persons and companies without the right perdigree and competence in the maritime sector as he said that what is happening now is akin to the partitioning of Africa on the table in the Berlin conference of 1885.
The public relations officer of the Tin Can chapter of ANLCA, Onome Monije also added her bit at the press conference. She said that the problems that they have is with the VIN valuation of of the Mercedes Benz and BMW brands thereby reiterating the words of the ANLCA president that the problems is with European and far Asian vehicle brands, she said that they would want the whole process to be as seemless as possible as the non-standard vehicles pose serious problems in the course of clearing the vehicles by freight forwarders and thereby eliminating human contact. She wants the standard types of vehicles to be used as bench mark for determining the value of duties and levies to be paid in order to eliminate the apparent extortions that exist in the cargo clearance process. She also ventured into the problematic issue of the VREG and asked that the process be made more efficient in order to save Freight Forwarders from the unnecessary extra charges emanating from demurrage and other extra costs associated to the cargo clearing processes. She would want a situation of uniform value in terms of what you pay on same vehicle as she added that the costs between the clearance of the standard and non-standard vehicles is Two Hundred And Ninety Thousand Naira for the standard and Four Hundred And Fifty Thousand Naira for the non-standard types.
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