Even though the e-valuation and VIN Valuation programs of the Nigeria Customs Service were aimed at improving revenue generation and fast-tracking the process of clearing imported goods at Nigerian ports, the House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise said the workings of the VIN is illegal.
Chairman of the Committee Leke Abejide during a tour of customs formations in Lagos on Tuesday said the ‘Standard VIN and the Non Standard VIN’ as being operated by the customs is illegal and the lawmakers might scrap the platform.
The committee was inundated with barrage of complaints from importers and freight forwarders about the failings of the VIN Valuation, especially at the Tin Can Island Customs, saying that it has made clearance of imported vehicles difficult.
The freight forwarders and importers claimed that many vehicles have been abandoned inside the port due to astronomical hike in valuation issued by customs.
Hon Abejide subsequently assured the freight forwarders that the committee would ensure that a uniform procedure was adopted throughout the country to encourage importers to bring in their goods through Nigerian ports.
Abejide described the “standard and no standard” valuation method as illegal. He, therefore, called on NCS management to revert to one method of valuation for imported vehicles and other items.
The chairman assured the freight forwarders that the House might ask for the suspension of the new clearing processes if they are creating more problems.
He said even though the law allows for the importation of vehicles that are not more than 15 years, the House might consider increasing their age limits.
Speaking, Public Relations Officer of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, Chinedun Ogoke, said the practice where vehicles of the same model but manufactured in different countries are charged separately scares away importers.
He stated at the event attended by members of the Licensed Clearing and Forwarding Agents, that due to the VIN and e-Valuation, a vehicle imported at N1 million could attract as much as N2 million to N2.5 million clearing fee.
Ogoke, therefore, asked the lawmakers to look into the procedure with a view to ensuring that the same procedure is applied to all vehicles.
His words: “This issue of VIN valuation and e-valuation is not helping the system. It is affecting revenue generation negatively and we want the honourable members to look into this.
“We have a situation where two different types of evaluations are used on the same type of vehicle and you find a situation where, for example, you import a vehicle of N1 million and you are supposed to clear it with N500, 000. But because of valuation, you are now clearing the vehicle with N2.5 million.
“We have a situation where some people have abandoned the vehicle they imported and go to the market to buy another vehicle with less the amount. As a result of this, some importers no longer want to bring in their vehicles through the Nigerian port.
“The age limit for cars to be imported into Nigeria is 15 years. But Customs are not allowing that 15 years. They are giving us ten years and this is also affecting importation. You need to look into this.”