Comptroller Festus Okun, Customs Area Controller (CAC) of Port Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command of the Nigeria Customs Service in Lagos has described the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation mode being implemented as one that will increase transparency, raise revenue collection and engender predictability.
Comptroller Okun who described the improved mode of duty collection on vehicular cargo as being in line with modernisation of the service processes also said it will bring about uniformity of value across all customs commands in Nigeria
According to him, it will eradicate human contacts, remove discretionary duty value borne out of sentiments and address the problem of having variations in value of same vehicle model and age in various commands of the NCS.
In a statement by the command spokesman, DSC Yakubu Muhammad, the customs CAC urged importers, licensed customs agents and freight forwarders to open up their minds to the new reality, Okun said it will not only increase collection as it will facilitate trade by saving time.
He advised licenced customs agents not to be caught on the wrong side of the law as the robust audit system in the service will unveil infractions and demand for revenue evaded
The CAC added that with the VIN valuation, longer time hitherto spent on raising value will be saved and more importation processed within short time.
Comptroller Okun also advised them to embrace the change as efforts have begun to enlighten them on the VIN.
He said a recent stakeholders meeting held with the port users at PTML on Tuesday was targeted at keeping them abreast with the new policy on valuation for imported vehicles into Nigeria.
Comptroller Okun said : ” I will now relate VIN to some of the core principles of trade facilitation. Like, you can look at the trade facilitation agreement and the Kyoto Convention; what are they all saying?
“It’s about processes and procedures that need to be simplified, to have harmonization, to put integrity into the system for uniformity, predictability and all these this VIN system does .
“By using it to generate appropriate duties and taxes to be paid, it means that it is predictable and there is harmonization between all ports and terminals across the country.
“The human interface will be removed, and this brings integrity into the system. How does this encourage revenue generation?
There will be harmonization and absence of discretion because discretion is what has been causing a lot of issues, where people bring emotions into official transactions.
More revenue is expected, also, when there is predictability in the system, people will be encouraged to trade more, leading to more revenue.
“When there is uniformity, there will be peace, because people will know that whatever is obtainable here is the same as all over and when something is predictable, it means that route is made more user friendly and people will rather come and make their transactions than go elsewhere. It’s not like the NCS will relent in its enforcement of law but people will be encouraged to come into the system and do the appropriate thing. This will lead to a decrease in smuggling.
“For example, during our meeting on Tuesday, some of them said they could not proceed with their declaration because the VIN number wasn’t going.
” I told them immediately that whoever has the problem should come to the office, but till today, nobody has come to my office. So, people are just trying to say they have one issue or the other, but they haven’t really brought it to the fore.
“I appeal to them to continue engaging in the area of misconceptions and understanding, to let us know things that are confusing to them. Our doors are wide open, and they can always walk into any of these offices to get clarification on any of the issues. And when they have any legitimate complaint, probably from a declaration, they can just come forward” Comptroller Okun concluded