By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even though the Federal Ministry of Finance is yet to complete the pilot phase of the National Vehicle Registry project (VREG) there are indications that importers and freight forwarders are already being compelled to pay fees in connection with VREG.
Findings by DAILY TREND NEWS revealed that such payments starts from N6,000 upwards, and it is upgraded according to the year of manufacture of the imported vehicle.
Apart from VREG, vehicle importers are compelled to pay N1,000 Practitioners Operating Fee (POF) earlier introduced by the Federal Ministry of Transport through Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN)
They are also forced to pay N3,600 as TVT a newly introduced levy by the Lagos State Government, N500 as Wharf Landing Fees. Others are National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Estate Charges on Containers, this is paid at various locations where Bonded Terminals are sited.
Already, DTI Cafe Operators (Direct Traders Input) around the port have allegedly taken up the VREG as a medium of quick extortion, especially for freight forwarders who are illiterates and cannot perfect documentation by themselves.
In a series of messages to his members last week, Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can Port Chapter, Alhaji Muhammed Mojeed said the commencement of payments on VREG Certificates is an additional cost on clearance of vehicles imported into Nigeria.
The message signed by the Secretary to the chapter, Barrister Michael Ovien, urged DTI Operators to stop taking advantage of Agents under the guise of VREG.
According to him, “VREG payment is an additional burden on the clearance process, it was placed upon us without proper consultation by the Federal Ministry of Finance.
“We are representatives of the importers of both New and Fairly Used Vehicles imported into the country legally since the other Associations like the Auto Dealers and Manufacturers are silent and quiet about this newly introduced policy of Government”
Allhaji Mojeed lamented that VREG is coming in addition to the Practitioners Operating Fee (POF) earlier introduced by the Federal Ministry of Transport through Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN)
Other fees that has been slammed on imported vehicles are; Wharf Landing Fees, NURTW, Estate Charges on Containers where Bonded Terminals are located, and other bottlenecks.
“These are the charges we encounter everyday as we perform our rights as Licenced Clearing Agents and Freight Forwarders”
Also speaking with our correspondent, another clearing agent, Mr Adebowale Bare states that the VREG newly introduced by the Federal Government is already creating problems at the port.
According to him, without registering and paying VREG, even with your TIN number you cannot capture or clear any vehicle at the port. Meanwhile the money is collected according to the year of the vehicle.
He said “On one imported vehicle that is paying customs duty to the Federal Government, paying the newly introduced VREG, the Lagos State Government is still trying to enforce TVT on the same vehicle, and they are collecting N3,600
“On wharf landing, we pay N300 per car, N500 on buses and jeeps, N500 on twenty foot container, N1,000 on forty foot.
Now they are collecting N3,600on every vehicle.
“They are the ones staying on the road and collecting money at Mile 2. Whoever refused to pay the money, they impound the vehicle and the penalty is N30,000” he said