Dr. Kayode Farinto, ANLCA Vice President.
Story by Dili Utomi.
Nigerian ports may witness serious upheaval which may led to congestion in vehicle clearance in the ports due to the alleged high and outrageous costs of clearing imported vehicles to Nigeria by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Dr. Kayode Farinto has in a chat with the media on Friday said the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy introduced for all imported vehicles by the Nigeria Customs Service is not helping the nation’s economy as it lacks predictability and unable to drive revenue collection. He said for the last one week now clearance of vehicles has been stopped due to the outrageous VIN values by the Customs.
Vehicles awaiting clearance at the Port.
VIN was recently introduced by the NCS to give a uniform and acceptable values to all imported vehicles into Nigeria not minding the port of landing. Hitherto, vehicles of same year and made were often charged different duties in different ports in Nigeria.
Narrating the difficulties experienced by Frieght Forwarders and Customs Brokers, Farinto said that the main 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 the Nigerian government about what is happening in our industry. In the last one week, our members were unable to clear vehicles from the ports as a result of the introduction of VIN by the Customs.
“Let me take you on memory lane, why should we opt for VIN valuation? You will agree with me that before now, I was one of those that said 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 encourages corruption and it is making us not to have predictability. One of the first criteria of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is, there must be predictability in Customs clearance. Hence, we now say okay, give us uniform value or key into that of the Ghanaian system, that is where the issue of VIN came onboard,” Farinto said.
According to him, before the Customs implement any policy, it is expected of them to collaborate with stakeholders especially the licensed Customs brokers, adding that the Customs needs to subject their value to public criticism for stakeholders to have their inputs.
However, he argued that the introduction of VIN is not helping the economy, it has made the clearance of cargoes particularly vehicles stagnant in the last four days, vehicles are accumulating storages at the nation’s seaports.
“We are now calling on Customs to invite us, subject the values to criticism because you cannot shave our head in our absence. The legal notice 30 talks about wear and tear and rebate. Once a vehicle is bought in 2022 in America, if you buy a car in January 1 and you drive it from Houston to Texas to far north, once it is used, it depreciates, 10% depreciation law comes in, same thing everywhere in the whole world. It is a standard thing.
“It is unfortunate in Nigeria now because of the fact that nobody cries out importers are feeling it. These agents entered into agreement with their importers; collecting bill of lading, 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.
“We are not saying you should not introduce VIN valuation. What we are saying is that , if you look at the value in the VIN valuation, is very outrageous. For example, I have three examples here, I look at the system and I look at MAZDA 2007 vehicle, the system is giving them over $5000. And what is the value of 2007 vehicle in the market? You can even view it in American market.
“Another one, we have an Honda 2013 that was bought for around $6000 or $7000. If you access the VIN value, it will give you over N2 million as duty and if you convert it to dollars, that is over $15000. These are things that is killing our economy. Another one is 2009 Honda, which ordinarily, the system is giving over $6000, meanwhile it is less than $2000 when we were even clearing it,” he said.
Farinto insisted that the purpose of embracing the VIN is to make sure it reduce the human to human contact, discourages corruption and it becomes uniform, saying that it is only in Nigeria that it would turn to a Banana Republic and it is becoming discouraging and frustrating, even clearing agents are seriously agitating.
“The VIN should be such that when you clear your vehicle, anywhere within Nigeria, the moment you access it through the VIN nobody queries you on the road, no Customs officer will stop you on the road unnecessarily. But because the Customs lacks professionalism, I am very sure they have not worked in tandem with the Tariff and Valuation departments because If they work in tandem with the tariff department all these things would have been harmonised that is why we are where we are now”.
“As I talk to you now, boys are apprehensive, they are serious agitations here and there because they are unable to clear their vehicles. As I talk to you now, there is a total breakdown of system at the seaports, nobody can clear vehicles and the issue of PAAR is still there. The Customs is jerking up PAAR as if we are in Oyingbo market, even the man at Oyingbo market will give his customers notice that my prices will increase next week,” he added.
It could be recalled that freight forwarders have protested the VIN valuation policy at the PTML command recently calling for a review or the manual valuation.
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