By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigeria Customs Service has once again raised an alarm on the loss of revenue on imported used vehicles through Nigerian ports, even as it has indicted its examination and valuation officers at various commands for not complying with the procedure for examination, valuation and release of used vehicles.
To this end, the service has directed that all used vehicles after examination are to be referred to the Valuation seat to verify the ‘trim’ of the imported vehicle and assign the appropriate value, instead of applying the ‘base’ value.
This was contained in a circular with number; NCS/T&T/2023/014 signed by the Assistant Comptroller General, Tariff and Trade, C.K Niagwan, dated 24th of August 2023 which was sighted by DAILY TREND.
“It has been observed with great concern that examination and valuation Officers are not complying with the procedure for examination, valuation and release of used vehicles.
“For the avoidance of doubt, all used vehicles after examination are to be referred to the Valuation seat to verify the trim of the imported vehicle and assign the appropriate value, instead of applying the base value.
“Pursuant to the above, you are requested to re-orient all examination and valuation Officers of this procedure to prevent further loss of revenue” the circular stated
In a follow-up press statement to further clarify the Customs position, the National Public Relations Officer of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada explained that the mentioned circular specifically pertains to imported used vehicles equipped with ‘trim’ numbers.
He said “These trim numbers are critical in identifying distinct versions or tiers within a specific car model. They delineate varying configurations, features, and levels of equipment associated with the model.
“Furthermore, different trim levels offer diverse technological advancements, interior and exterior features, and, occasionally, distinct engine options.
“For instance, a car model could feature trim levels such as “Base,” “Sport,” “Luxury,” and “Premium.” Each of these trim levels might present differing combinations of attributes, such as premium leather seats, advanced infotainment systems, upgraded wheels, and enhanced safety features, among other enhancements. This results in an elevated value for the vehicle compared to the base model.
“To ensure fairness and accuracy, the NCS mandates that imported used vehicles with trim numbers undergo valuation at the Valuation Seat after a thorough examination. This process aims to establish the vehicle’s appropriate and precise Customs value”
Meanwhile, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has condemned the directive, saying that the Customs service is about to compromise the VIN valuation compliance procedure.
The Sole Administrator of ANLCA National Secretariat, Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila in a chat with DAILY TREND raised an alarm, saying “Custom management is about to compromise VIN valuation compliance procedure code-4100 regime by this directives to return to manual Valuation”
Recall that the Customs Service had first raised an alarm recently, over serial infractions by importers and clearing agents in the payment of duty on imported used vehicles also known as Tokunbo vehicles.
According to a Memorandum which emanated from the office of the former Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Tariff and Trade, ACG Musa MBA dated 17th July 2023, a copy of which was sited by our correspondent, some of the clearing agents were alleged to have been shortchanging the Federal Government.
The memo is titled ‘Value Cut on Extended Procedure Code 846’
According to the Customs “A new trend of infraction has been discovered where the value approved on the assessment slip for the extended procedure code 846 is not completely utilized.
“The CAC should take immediate action to stop the infractions and also liase with the DC Revenue, DC Valuation and DC PCA and ensure recovery of lost revenue.
“Attached in Annex A is the list of some C numbers with such infractions. Other C numbers will be forwarded in due course as the profiling is a continous process. Ensure strict compliance, please” it reads