Story by Dili Utomi
A whole lot of dusts are being raised over the proposed enforcement of the presentation of vehicle logbook by the management of the Nigeria Customs Service.
The Chairman of Wealthy Honey Investment Nigeria Limited and an official of the nation’s first Customs Licensed Agency Association, Dr. Kayode Colin Farinto in a press conference held in Apapa said that the policy is a retrogression to the old ways of doing things and could be seen as means of extortion for law enforcement officers.
The Licensed Customs Agent who was reacting to the memo circulated on the 23rd of March from the office of the Head, Trade and Tariffs, Deputy Controller General of Customs, Talatu Isah and which read in parts ” A grace of 90 days effective from the date of this circular is allowed to enable all Importers who must have entered into transactions before the circular process and clear their vehicles. For the purpose of emphasis, importation of used motor vehicles requires the production of vehicle logbook in addition to other clearance documents after the grace period”.
Dr. Farinto said that the relevance of the logbook which has its legal backing in the Customs and Excise Management Act Notice number 33 of 1971 has been outdated because the details of the vehicles which were usually included in the logbook have now been taken care of through the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and this makes the logbook outdated. He said that the DCG should have consulted widely before releasing the circular. He went on to say that the VIN serves as the vehicle’s fingerprint just as in humans and that it is an automated means of getting the details of the vehicles and also helps easily to ascertain the duty payable on every vehicle.
Dr. Farinto lamented that this policy may encourage Importers to start, out of desperation in producing fake logbooks and then in turn result in Customs officers asking for gratification before being left off the hook. He added that imputing your chassis number into a connected system will bring out the details of a vehicle. He also called for a uniform tariff on vehicles of the same specifications and model imported into the country.
DC Attah, Joseph, the Customs National PRO.
On the part of the Nigeria Customs Service, the Public Relations Officer at the Customs Headquaters, Abuja, Deputy Controller Joseph Attah said that the circular was addressing the matter of the presentation of logbook for used vehicles ONLY because new vehicles have the relevant information which the imported used vehicles do not have. He went on to say that it has been found that Importers do engage in the physical alteration of certain parts of the vehicles like the speedometer and other parts and then go on ahead to give wrong information about the vehicle in order to pay very little duty.