Customs faults CBN’s policy on benchmarking in valuation

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Customs faults CBN’s policy on benchmarking in valuation

* Says It will result in disputes, delays, uncertainties

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has said that the use of benchmarking policy in valuation as proposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will negate Agreement on Customs Valuation (ACV) and result in disputes, delays, as well as uncertainties.

The National Public Relations Officer of Customs, DC, T Bomodi, made this known in a statement released on Customs – Media platform.

The Customs Image Maker, who signed the statement on behalf of CGC Hameed Ali, explained that WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) remains the Service’s principle guide for trade facilitation. Therefore, NCS is always seeking new approaches to enable expedited clearance of goods from the ports.

According to him, Customs is doing this
by adopting new technologies, harmonizing and simplifying its procedures, all of which is purposely designed to reduce cost.

The statement reads :
“It has come to our attention that there are reports, suggesting the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has acquiesced to introduction of the e-valuator and e-invoicing for import and export businesses in Nigeria by CBN. We wish to state that this is incorrect. The Service still stands by its earlier submissions on the matter, as was clearly communicated to the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Customs and Excise, Banking and Currencies on 03 March 2022.

“It will be recalled that the CBN in a letter dated  July 8, 2021 informed the Service that they were deploying a mechanism for verification of prices of goods before allocation of forex at the point of e-form M registration. The policy in summary seeks to benchmark the price of imported and exported cargo”.

More follows :
“The move has raised objections from critical stakeholders within and outside the industry, who have expressed valid concerns that require critical considerations.

“The practice world over is to domicile adjudication on Customs values for import and export within the Customs administration of every country. The NCS, undoubtedly, is alive to its statutory functions and has a vibrant Valuation Unit under Tariff and Trade Department whose roles among others includes
proper interpretation of
WCO/WTO rules and agreements concerning valuation of goods.”

The statement indicated :
“Nigeria being a member of World Customs Organization (WCO), World Trade Organization (WTO) and also signatory to international trade treaties, including Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is constrained to abide by the principles contained therein.

“Article VII stipulates that the value for customs purposes of imported/exported goods should be based on the actual value paid or payable for them. This is commonly referred to as transaction value. This agreement also prescribes five other methods for arriving at Customs value where the transaction value is unacceptable. They are transaction value of identical goods, the transaction value of similar goods, Deductive value method, Computed value method, and Fallback method, applied sequentially.

“The NCS as a government agency aligns with the WTO Agreement on Customs Valuation (ACV) as it aims for a fair, uniform and neutral system for valuation of goods for Customs purposes. This conforms to commercial realities and outlaws the use of assumed values for Customs purposes.

“The House of Representatives Joint Committee on Customs and Excise, Banking and Currencies had directed that all agencies with defined roles in the supply chain meet to harmonize procedures with particular reference to resolving the issue of value for trade purposes. This meeting is yet to take place, therefore there could not have been any agreement supporting the CBN initiative as reported in the news.”

The statement emphasised :
“We look forward to a robust deliberation that is expected to occur from this meeting as directed. Until then, we shall continue to abide by the principles as contained in ACV for all import/export transaction.”

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