VIN Suspension: Clearing Agents Reject 30-days Moratorium by Customs, Demands 90-days

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…PTML, Five Star Terminal Give 70% Waiver

By DAPO OLAWUNI

Even though the Nigeria Customs Service on Monday announced a 30-days suspension of its controversial Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) policy for valuation of imported vehicles, clearing agents have rejected the 30-days saying that the timing is too short to clear the backlog of vehicles that have been trapped inside various terminals.

Recall that the freight forwarders have been on strike action for three weeks, protesting against implementation of the VIN Valuation.

Though the licensed clearing agents have since resumed work, they are now requesting the customs service to extend the moratorium period to 90-days in order to allow them clear already trapped vehicles

Former Taskforce Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can Port, Otunba Waheed Sadiku noted that out of the 30days issued by Customs, 8-days are weekends and no Customs functions can be performed on the system except deliveries.

“At this point, we are calling for more dialogue from our Leaders who are well equipped and knowledgeable with the Customs procedures to quickly move into action, by visiting the Nigeria Custom Zone ‘A.

“It is only with 90 Days we can clear all these vehicles successfully” he argued

Another clearing agent at PTML Terminal in a chat with DAILY TREND NEWS, Mr Godwin Odinaka argued that 30-days cannot be enough for freight forwarders to clear their vehicles which has risen to 12,000 units inside port terminal.

According to him, clearing the cargoes would require frequent visits to the Customs Zona A’ Office at Havey Road ,Yaba Lagos for some of the overtime cargoes.

He said this alone takes more than two weeks to process.

Meanwhile, DAILY TREND NEWS gathered that Five Star Terminal and the PTML Terminals have offered to issue waivers to the agents in order to allow them take quick delivery of the trapped vehicles.

Sequel to calling off of the strike action on Monday, leadership of the freight forwarders held a meeting with management of Five Star Logistics Terminal and they some leverage on specific days and times on the vessels which provides that agents who have gotten or written their TDO (Terminal Delivery Order) before the strike are free to take delivery by simply updating their TDO.

Apart from these, any vessel that arrived before the commencement of the protests was given 50% waivers.

Meanwhile, at the PTML Terminal, our correspondent gathered that the terminal operator gave clearing agents 70% of waiver on the affected vessels.

The Nigerian customs on Monday announced the suspension of the policy for 30 days, via a circular titled “Approval of Grace Period To Clear Backlog Of Vehicles’ dated March 7, 2022 and signed on behalf of the Comptroller General of Customs by an Assistant Comptroller General, Hamza Gummi.

The circular with reference number NCS/T&T/ACG/008/S.100/VOL 111 and addressed to all Customs Area Controllers reads in part: “Sequel to the recent Customs, stakeholders town hall meeting held in Lagos on the VIN-Valuation, the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), having listened to public outcry, has graciously approved one month window to enable clearing the backlog of vehicles held up in the ports as a result of the strike action.

“Meanwhile, you are requested to ensure the uniform application of rebates for all vehicles using the correct values for your assessments.

“The VIN-Valuation protocol is still in operation as reviews and updates are being captured in our system to reflect these adjustments.”

The circular further directed all the Area Controllers to monitor the transition period and ensure manual assessments of import duty on vehicles are in compliance with extant laws.

“Area Controllers are expected to monitor this transition period and ensure manual assessments are in full compliance with extant laws.

“This grace period is for one month, beginning from Tuesday 8 Mar 2022.

“You are to bring the contents of this circular to your officers and the general public for their information and guidance, please,” it added.

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