By DAPO OLAWUNI
A freight forwarding group, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN) has raised an alarm over the breakdown of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) a new policy of the Nigeria Customs Service on imported vehicles, saying that the platform is not working at the Tin Can Island Command.
Taiwo Fatomilola, Public Relations Officer of AREFFN at Tin Can Port told DAILY TREND exclusively that document submitted to the Tin can Island Customs valuation department are going missing.
He argued that the VIN Valuation platform is a deception and a scam that has taken clearance of vehicles back by 20years into the era of manual clearance where there are long list of customs tables and signatures to clear a cargo.
While expressing his apparent frustrations and that of his fellow freight forwarders, Mr Fatomilola alleged that “Jobs
that were submitted since May 2022, we are yet to collect valuation on them up till now, a lot of documents we submitted have gotten missing, we had to start processing another one since Monday, and we are still in the same office
“The VIN valuation was a deception of the highest order by the Nigeria Customs Service, they have succeeded in taking us back 20-years to the former process whereby after submitting your documents, you have to start going from table to table , including manifest, Jack, Customs Account, before referring you to vehicle seat.
“That time, it was manual, but now they are hiding under the pretenses of IT, but it is still the same manual process and an extortion of the highest order”
“You need to visit the Valuation department of the Tin Can Island Customs Command and witness the crowd and the level of confusion that is going on there right now” he alleged.
According to the ACG T&T and Comptroller Valuation at the Thursday Meeting at Apapa Command with the stakeholders, he said that the VIN Valuation will commence on Saturday ‘
The VIN valuation was first introduced about three months ago, but it was greeted with uproar from the freight forwarders who described the policy as inhuman and unrealistic due to the high values imposed on vehicles, and the lack of consideration for rebate on accidented and used vehicles.
This led to the suspension of the system by the customs authority which thereafter reworked and improved the policy by accommodating the observations and grievances of freight forwarders.
The revised VIN Valuation was later reintroduced on 21/05/2022 after a lot of sensitization and meetings with leadership of the freight associations.
In their various reactions, freight forwarders have continued to express divergent views on the workings of the VIN Valuation.
While majority of them expressed their support and acceptance of the VIN Valuation platform, some of them are still kicking against the value payment attached to the system.