The Customs team at the meeting taking a salute.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as part of an effort to resolve the lingering crisis that was brought about with the introduction of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation system in Nigeria, convened a crucial stakeholders meeting at the Customs Training School yesterday at Ikeja, in Lagos.
The main hall of the Training School venue of the meeting was organised was well filled with representatives of the Customs, freight forwarders/licensed customs agents, journalists and many other interest groups, they made input on the way out of the VIN valuation matter which has really negatively affected normal operations at the Tin Can Island port and the PTML for some days now.
Three Assistant Comptroller Generals of Customs including ACG Tariff and Trade, Hamza Gumi, ACG ICT and modernisation, Saidu Galadima and ACG Zone A Headquarters, Modupe Aremu were there to preside over the meeting.
The Assistant Comptroller General (ACG) Aremu who while fielding questions from Journalists said that the NCS is inclined to tweaking the system to accommodate the complaints and observations of the freight forwarders in other to arrive at a new computation for the VIN. The Zone A Coordinator of the NCS who represented the Comptroller General of Customs at the meeting said the NCS management will meet again to review the complaints and inputs of the stakeholders by today.
There are indications that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) may suspend the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation system which has disrupted port activities owing to protests from outrageous duties from the e-valuation system by freight forwarders at Tin Can Island Port and the Port Terminal Multi-Services Limited (PTML) with the situation as it is right now
ACG Aremu promised that Customs will arrive at a win-win solution on the matter as the customs and its licensed agents are members of one large family as she added that agents were actually trained ahead of the implementation of the VIN valuation and that they were not expecting the strike action response from them when they began the VIN implementation. She emphatically maintained that the VIN has come to stay as she said that it cannot be suspended.”
The Assistant Comptroller General in Charge of ICT and Modernisation, Aliyu Galadima Saidu on his own part said that the NCS will endeavour to bring training closer to the customs agents to improve their proficiency on the job, noting that the centralized trainings organised by Customs headquarters recently limited the participation and impact of the programme.
A Licensed Customs Agents Taiye Oyeniyi, condemned the prohibitive cost of vehicle clearance with the new VIN Valuation as he urges the management of the NCS to consider suspending implementation of the VIN valuation regime until an ideal process is worked out to properly capture duties for the used vehicles.
He also appealed to the striking agents to suspend their industrial action to allow the NCS management team at the meeting take their complaints to Abuja for consideration.
Also speaking, a former President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Chief Eugene Nweke, accused Customs of implementing the new system without advance notice for stakeholders to prepare for the new system.
The VIN valuation regime, which seeks to bring uniformity in duty valuation of imported vehicles, uses artificial intelligence based on data supplied by the trader and other parties, to evaluate and decide on the amount of duty to be paid, without human interference, but it’s introduction has seen a whole lot backlash from freight forwarders/licensed customs agents as some complain that the cost of clearing vehicles in this regime has been more than tripled, hence their call for a review of the system and its operation.
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