The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has warned that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy recently introduced by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), will push government into buying arms and ammunition to fight dare devil smugglers.
This was disclosed by the deputy national president (NAGAFF), Segun Musa, when the executive secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime intervened in the impasse between clearing agents and Customs over the VIN valuation at the Tin-Can Island Port Complex, Apapa.
Musa who bemoaned the Customs valuation policy said scarce resources that should be use to provide social amenities will be diverted to purchasing arms and ammunition saying, the policy will fuel smuggling.
He, however, charge the government to fine-tune the policy saying if not, it will lead to high smuggling of vehicles as importers will prefer neighbouring ports to Nigerian seaports due to high duty payment.
“The implication is if we fail to address this, not only will there be job loss but smuggling will increase because its a way of encouraging legitimate importers to go back to smuggling,” Segun Musa said.
He continued, “scare resources needed to provide social amenities will be used to procure Arms and ammunition to suppress smuggling,”
Musa who bemoaned the Customs VIN valuation policy said since it has become too expensive, importers who would had wanted to go through due process will be frustrated into cutting corners.
“We appeal to Customs to have human face in their dealings. The world is advancing and we should with it because no one will wait for us. The world has gone beyond Customs officers doing manual operation but rather, online Customs. We as clearing agents should input, pay our duty and get a code that will be used to exit the cargoes from the port without any hassles.
“We want seamles operation. There should be synergy between private sector and government.”
He said that rather than encourage trade facilitation, the new policy would rather encourage smuggling in of vehicles by importers who want to run away from paying the new ‘outrageous duties’ imposed on imported cars to the government through Customs.
“This will push importers away, companies will shut down while jobs would be loss, and government will be using limited resources to buy guns to fight smugglers,” he said.