ANLCA Kicks Against VREG As Vehicle Importers Suffer Unnecessary Demurrage

Dr Kayode Farinto, Vice President of ANLCA

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Vice President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto has said that the National Vehicle Registry (VREG) a policy of the Federal Government is causing untold hardship on importers of vehicles and their clearing agents.

Farinto while briefing journalists in Lagos on Friday lamented that licensed customs agents operating at the Tin Can Island Port, and the Ports and Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML Terminal) have been unable to generate the VREG in the last three weeks due to server failures.

He also lamented that despite the introduction of the VIN Valuation by the Nigeria Customs Service for easy verification of Customs duty, payable on vehicles at ports; operatives of the Customs still subject importers and freight agents to manual valuation processes.

Speaking on the VREG, he said “The server has been down and it could be down for another 4-5days. Nobody is addressing freight forwarders from Customs as they say it’s not their making. VREG is domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance and the issue is believed to be between the consortium and the Ministry.”

“I believe that the sector doesn’t need VREG because it seems to be another means to extort importers. If the government wants data of vehicles cleared legitimately from the ports, all they need to do is to liase with the NCS. When experts posit that Nigerian seaports are bedeviled by numerous charges, this VREG is another issue that validates such assertion,”

“It is very unfortunate that we are talking about trade facilitation and ease of doing business, yet it takes a minimum of 4 days to generate VREG to evacuate a vehicle. Most times, you make the payment and the status doesn’t change. Consequently, you’ll not be able to migrate to the NCS portal to generate the VIN that was introduced in January.”

“VIN was introduced by Customs on January 1, 2022. VIN gives Customs an opportunity to have uniform value on the importation of vehicles when they are the same year, the same product and same capacity,” he said.

Farinto admonished the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed to look into the issues affecting VREG in order to simplify it and make the process seamless. He also lamented that a lot of people are paying unnecessary demurrage and storage charges since the introduction of VREG.

Farinto also asserted that findings on the data in the Customs portal, with regards to duties on vehicles, show that the figures are very outrageous.

Stating that the rates negate the principles of transaction value, he argued that the trading community has a legitimate right to ask questions on the mode of deriving Customs duties.

“We aren’t in a military era, so when I get the value as a freight agent, I should be able to ask how that value was derived. The World Customs Organization (WCO) and World Trade Organization (WTO) have said that Customs formations must make their operations open. Traders and the trading public should know how these things are done,” he posited.

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