By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON) has threatened to engage the Nigeria Customs Service in a legal battle if the service fails to suspend its newly introduced and controversial Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Valuation policy.
National President of AMDON, Prince Ajibola Adedoyin at a press briefing held at the Beger Auto Yard in Apapa Lagos on Friday said that the association has equally placed all its members in 36 states of the Federation on notice for a strike action.
The association also warned that Nigerians should prepare to buy cars at exorbitant prices if the VIN Valuation is not suspended. He argued that the high cost of clearing the cars would be transferred to end users.
Recall that freight forwarders had since Monday, commenced a protest at the Tin Can Island Port and PTML Terminal over the VIN Valuation implementation which has increased cost of clearing vehicles.
Adedoyin particularly condemned a recent statement from the National Public Relations Officer of Customs, Mr Timi Bomodi, who claimed that the VIN Valuation policy was taken in consultation with the relevant stakeholders.
He said that AMDON is showing solidarity with Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and other freight forwarding associations who are demonstrating the strike action.
According to the AMDON President “We wish to state categorically clear that our organisations whose members are the importers of all the vehicles and clearing of such vehicles were never contacted in any form, even though we have been in the forefront of requesting the Nigeria Customs Service to go into the use of technology”
“The NCS automated VIN Valuation is full of errors, fraudulent, has the tendency of taking us back to the era of smuggling of used vehicles into the country. This would also make life unbearable for Nigerians, thereby destroying the gains recorded in the transportation sector
“Moreover, using the VIN Valuation in summary contravene the Customs and Excise Management 20 of2003 which talks about transaction value (purchase price) which is the price agreed on by the buyer and seller
“Customs have no right to impose vakue which is not in line with the Customs and Excise Act
“It is not possible for vehicles that come from different countries and arriving at the ports to have the same value considering the commercial level and freight costs.
“We therefore, demand immediate suspension of the Valuation automated system designed by Customs and review of same in consideration of the Nigeria Customs act.
“We also demand investigation and prosecution of those involve in this fraud, which has caused panic and destabilization of business in the Nigerian Port Authority.
“The NCS are witness to the fact that members of AMDON have been supportive of all government policies that would eradicate smuggling of used vehicles, as we have demonstrated in all our meetings with the Customs management and we have always pledge our support to the NCS in every area that would bring development to the country,” he said.
Adedoyin said it was quite unfortunate that customs has intentionally decided to avoid AMDON request for audience after letters of request for audience with the NCS management failed to reply.
“The Customs is avoiding us because they had ulterior motive which they know be rejected by us on behalf of Nigerians.
“AMDON and Association of Customs Licensed Agents of Nigeria are saying with loud voice that we were not contacted and we reject the VIN Valuation automated system designed by Customs as the designer did not take into consideration of what is contained the law,” he said.