It’s Not Going To Work – Nnadiekwe
Thee Nigeria Customs Service had arranged a town hall meeting with stakeholders in Lagos to look into complaints made by freight forwarder and Customs license agent over the newly introduced Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation.
The Vehicle Identification Number has caused strike action across ports in Lagos since it’s introduction into the system.
Representing the Comptroller General of Customs at the town hall meeting on Tuesday, Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone A, ACG Modupe Aremu assured that the customs management will meet to review the complaints.
ACG Aremu described Customs and it’s licensed agents as members of one large family and disclosed that a solution to the issue will be arrived at soon
While addressing the media after the meeting, ACG Aremu explained that Customs is going to modify the complaints of the clearing agents to arrive at a conclusive arrangement for the VIN.
I’m her words “We are going to modify their complaints going forward. The modification will take care of the complaints of the clearing agents as regards VIN.
“We also talked and rubbed minds on a solution to this ongoing strike at the ports.
“The agents were actually trained ahead of the implementation of the VIN valuation. That was why we were not expecting this kind of response from them when we began the implementation.
“Due to the complaints the agents gave today, we are going back to the drawing board to modify all the issues that they raised. Hopefully, very soon we will get back to them on the outcome of the modification. VIN has come to stay, it cannot be suspended.” ACG Aremu quipped.
Adding his voice in the aspect of training, ACG Aliyu Galadima Saidu who is in charge of ICT and Modernisation, disclosed that efforts will be made to bring training closer to customs agents.
ACG Saidu said that the training will be decentralized to area commands to be organized by Customs Area Controllers .
He added that trade in an ICT driven era requires sincerity and integrity. According to him, some persons were found to change VIN figures of their imported used vehicles so as to be processed as non standard VIN to evade complete duty payments.
Babatunde Keshinro, General Manager of Ports Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) , a major area for vehicle importation in Lagos, said there are backlog of vehicles waiting to be evacuated.
Keshinro said the strike has caused a congestion leading to inability of more RoRo vessels calling at the port to discharge.
According to him, as at February 24, some ships that are bringing cars to Lagos have gone to wait in Cotonou awaiting information about space to discharge their vehicular cargoes.
For over two weeks, licenced customs agents and freight forwarders have embarked on a strike action over alleged increase in duty payment on imported used vehicles under a new VIN Valuation regime.
The regime addresses the duty variation and alleged non uniformity said to have existed before now. It also uses artificial intelligence relying on supplied data by the trader and other third parties to evaluate and decide on duty payments without human interference
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 any notice for stakeholders to prepare for it.
Earlier speaking, a chieftain of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Chief Taiye Oyeniyi decried the high cost of vehicle clearance using VIN Valuation .
Chief Oyeniyi advised NCS to reconsider it’s defunct Customs Consultative Forum as a way to bridge communication gap between the NCS and agents
He urged the striking agents to allow members of customs management team present at the Lagos meeting to take their complaints to Abuja for consideration.
Responding to questions from journalist, the Chairman, Motor Dealers Association, Lagos State Don Metche Nnadiekwe described the meeting as placing the cart before the horse, stating that the problem of the country is not considering the masses before formulating unfavorable policies.
According to Metche, before implementing such policy, they should have had meetings, interact with stakeholders, interview them to know where it’s going to affect them at the end of the day. But in Nigeria, they wake up and introduce something that is not friendly, something that is against the people. “But you see, this one, it’s not going work”
In his words “For those of us that import cars, if you go to the clearing agent today, he gives you one valuation. Tomorrow, it will be another valuation. You begin to wonder: a car that is supposed to be sold for N5m , N6m will now go up to N8m! Do you consider our people at all?
“I know that most of us don’t have cars as a result of prohibitive prices but there are many cars out there. We that are selling these cars to the public are not happy that the prices are prohibitive, very high! But if they are affordable, people will come over and we do business; Customs will have work to do! If you go to Wharf now, it’s empty, virtually empty. That means the economy of Nigeria is going down even as that place is known to generate the better part of the nation’s economy”. Nnadiekwe quipped.