The Federal Government through the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has provided the reason why it bowed to pressure and suspended the implementation of its controversial Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), an electronic valuation policy recently introduced for imported used vehicles.
The customs said that the implementation of the policy was suspended for one month to allow clearing agents to clear the backlog of vehicles held up at the ports due to the ongoing strike by the agents.
This was made known by the NCS in a circular dated March 7th, 2022, and titled, ‘VIN Valuation: Approval of Grace Period, To Clear Backlog of Vehicles’, which takes off from Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
The NCS warned importers and agents to ensure the uniform application of rebates for all vehicles using the correct values for their assessments.
The action by the NCS is coming some weeks after the commencement of indefinite strike embarked upon by clearing agents at Lagos ports over the implementation of the VIN valuation policy which they had alleged that the Customs had used to hike duties on imported vehicles arbitrarily among other issues.
What the NCS is saying
Although the NCS announced the suspension of the VIN policy to allow for the clearance of the backlog of imported vehicles, it, however, insisted that the policy would still be in place.
The statement partly reads, “Sequel to recent Customs/stakeholders town hall meeting held in Lagos on VIN-Valuation, the Comptroller General of Customs having listened to public outcry, has graciously approved one-month window to enable the clearing of the backlog of vehicles held up in the ports as a result of strike action. Meanwhile, uniform application of rebates will be used for all vehicles using correct values for assessment during the exercise.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the VIN-Valuation protocol is still in operation as reviews and updates are being captured in our systems to reflect the genuine concerns of stakeholders. As a responsive and responsible agency, Nigeria Customs Service will sustain its consultations with stakeholders in line with Article 2 of World Trade Organisation, Trade Facilitation Agreement for a smoother Customs Stakeholders relationship.’’
The circular also directed the affected area controllers to monitor the transition period and ensure manual assessments are in compliance with extant laws of the hand throughout the one month grace period, starting from Tuesday 8 to 22 March 2022.
What you should know
- Recall that in January 2022, the NCS introduced a new Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Valuation system that will aid the valuation of vehicles coming into the country through the borders.
- The policy which allows for importers to auto-generate tariffs on imported cars had led to weeks of demonstration and the shutdown of port activities by licensed Customs Agents, while the service insist on its implementation.
- The Spokesman of Nigeria Customs Service, Timi Bomodi, during an earlier interview, said that the leadership of customs were reviewing the newly introduced policy for necessary action.