VIN valuation causing confusion in ports – Freight Forwarders

Imported Vehicles

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VIN valuation causing confusion in ports – Freight Forwarders

*As agents abandon vehicles at ports

* Demands import duty chart, data base of vehicles

Imported Vehicles
Imported Vehicles

The controversy trailing
Introduction and implementation of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Valuation policy has taken a new dimension, as the projected revenue, which Nigeria Customs Service intended to realise has become a mirage, even as importers and Freight Forwarders abandoned thousands of vehicles in the ports following what they described as outrageous costs of clearing cars.

Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers, who spoke at the Roundtable talkshow, organised by Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN), said VIN-valuation policy has become counter-productive, causing confusion in vehicles clearing chain in the port industry.

While some agents lamented that VIN-valuation they thought would enhance seamless vehicles clearance has brought untold hardship and frustration to port users, others said even Customs that is implementating the policy is losing revenue due to drop in output, as vehicles, which ought to be cleared speedily are abandoned in the ports because of high duty rate and discrepancies in the system causing unnecessary bottlenecks.

The port users also complained that though they advocated for VIN-valuation to enhance ease of vehicles clearance; but Customs while implementing the policy did not follow the initial guidelines agreed on during their previous meetings.

The agreements according to them included test-running the policy in one port for a period to assess the impact and putting the age limit of vehicles at 12 years. But Customs allegedly jettisoned the agreements, made the policy universal, thereby making the process difficult and cumbersome for freight agents.

Their assertions :
The Public Relations Officer (PRO), Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), TinCan chapter, Comrade Onome Monije, said;  “There are many issues with VIN-valuation policy implementation, especially with non-standard vehicles that the data had not been inputted into Customs portal. The duty rate for non-standard values is extremely high.

“The standard value has 17 digits. And
even some vehicles with 17 digits are yet to be inputted into the Customs system, thereby making the clearance process of such vehicles extremely difficult.

“For instance, vehicles like Mercedes Benz 2003 M model and BMW with 17 digits are yet to be inputted into the system.

“If you key in such vehicles, the error code of 846 will occur and it will bring your work to non-standard value. At this point, there should be official help desk that can address this problem, instead for you to start negotiating. Imagine a duty rate for vehicle that was previously N400.000 increasing to about N2.8million.

“Madam Monije added;  Customs
should make the system seamless. They should give us duty chart on all vehicles to serve as guide during  clearance procedures. The Service should also come up with a data base on all vehicles both standard and non-standard.”

She pointed out :
“The aspect of providing a chart is very important, because absence of import duty chart, as well as data base allows human interface and physical contact in the clearing process”.

Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics in Nigeria (APFFLON), TinCan chapter, Rev. Clinton Okoro, pointed out :
“VIN-valuation policy implementation has fallen short of what was agreed upon initially, thereby giving rise to high duty rate.

“Customs has violated the decision to test-run the policy before making it universal. Now demurrage is accumulating due to a lot of storage in the system.”

His words :
“The delay is coming from this faulty implementation.  If Customs had followed the guidelines we reached at the sensitisation forum in Abuja, the VIN-valuation system would have been running side-by-side with the manual process, until the system is perfected to function as a single window.

The APFFLON PRO informed :
“What Customs is implementating now has not factored in 10 percent depreciation value, because each year, a vehicle depreciates its value by 10 percent.

“You can see that we are at a cross-road. There are many challenges in the system. The issue of standard and non-standard values is causing havoc in the system. What is running currently as age-limit for vehicles is 9 years; not 12 years, as earlier greed.

“These are the issues causing unnecessary delays, which resulted in huge demurrage. These delays and frustration are the reasons importers are forced to abandon their vehicles in the ports”.

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