The Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) has promised to look into complaints by licensed customs agents and freight forwarders over newly introduced Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation that has resulted in a strike action across ports in Lagos
Plus Naija reports that the Zonal Coordinator of NCS in Zone A, Mrs Modupe Aremu who represented the Comptroller General of Customs at a stakeholder meeting on Tuesday, assured that the customs management will meet Wednesday to review the complaints.
Mrs Aremu who described customs and it’s licensed agents as members of one large family also disclosed that a solution to the issue will be arrived at soon
Addressing the media after the meeting, acgy Aremu, explained that the Customs is going to modify the complaints of the clearing agents to arrive at a conclusive arrangement for the VIN.
According to ACG Aremu, “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.”
Also speaking at the event,Aliyu Galadima Saidu, Assistant Comptroller General in Charge of ICT and Modernisation disclosed that efforts will be made to bring training closer to customs agents.
He said the training will be decentralized to area commands to be organised by Customs Area Controllers .
ACG Saidu added that that trade in an ICT driven era requires sincerity and integrity as 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.
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 also urged the striking agents to allow members of customs management team present at the Lagos meeting to take their complaints to Abuja for consideration.
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.