Clearing agents operating in the nation’s maritime sector have kicked against the planned re-introduction of e-valuation of imported vehicles by the Nigeria Customs Service next week.
At the launch of the Vehicles Identification Number for valuation of imported vehicles in February, a number of stakeholders had voiced their displeasure over VIN’s objectivity, pointing out that the values used would not accurately factor in annual depreciation as required for used vehicles.
Following their complaints, and in line with Article 2 of the World Trade Organisation and the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), sent a delegation comprising two management staff to engage stakeholders in a town hall meeting in Lagos.
The outcome of the town hall meeting led to the approval of a 30-day moratorium by the CGC. This gave room for a review of the VIN valuation protocol, aimed at incorporating all their observations while allowing for the manual release of vehicles in the interim.
However, the NCS, in a statement on Tuesday, said it had concluded plans to reinstate the controversial VIN valuation on imported vehicles in May, adding that the stakeholders would be satisfied with the incorporated ideas and suggestions from their end.
The statement read in part, “VIN valuation process is set to be fully reinstated in the month of May 2022. Stakeholders will be satisfied with the incorporated ideas and suggestions from their end.”
The NCS stressed the importance of transparency and honesty in declarations made by agents and importers even as it appreciated the efforts of the associations in articulating the concerns of their members. It stressed the need to inform them of the progress made so far.
But the Deputy National President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Ugochukwu Nnadi, said that the NCS had not done enough regarding simplification of the system.
“The truth is that the Customs has not done enough as regards simplifying the system. When they wanted to introduce it initially, there was difficulty in connecting. And now that they want to reinstate that, have they resolved the issues that were involved? The status quo still remains and we only have to watch them and see what they are bringing up. When it comes, we will try and whatever problems we encounter, we will let them know.”