The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and clearing agents operating at the Tin-Can Island and PTML port complex, Apapa are ready for sjowdown over the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), Valuation policy recently introduced by the Customs Service on imported vehicles.
While the clearing agents have protested against the VIN Policy thereby calling for reversal, the Cuatoms service described those calling for reversal as selfish, hypocrite.
However, the clearing agents have vowed not to backdown by totally withdrawing their service until their seaman’s are met by the service.
According to the Task Force Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tin Can Port, Rilwan Amuni, the strike action is going to be total, adding that all the freight associations are acting on same page.
Spokesman of ANLCA at PTML Chapter, Ayokunle Sulaiman confirmed that the protest would be followed by withdrawal of service at the ports.
The Chairman, ANLCA, PTML Chapter, Oluwole Obey, said up till now, the letter written to the customs CG have not been replied, neither has he reached out or given assurances to the agents.
He, however, admitted that the Customs Area Comptroller in charge of PTML Command, Festus Okun made an attempt last Thursday to pacify the freight forwarders on the new VIN Valuation platform.
According to the ANLCA Chairman, the freight forwarders are not against the introduction of the VIN Valuation, as they view it is as a noble concept that would end corruption in the system of vehicle clearance but, complained that customs failed to carry out due diligence before implementation of the policy.
Obey added that the value being issued to be paid on imported vehicles have risen by almost 300 per cent saying it would affect the end users as the prices of vehicles will skyrocket.
He further noted that Toyota Camry, which sells for N1.5million will be increased to N5million.
Meanwhile, reacting to the clearing agents protest, the national public relations officer of the Service, Timi Bomodi said the motive behind ongoing protest is profiteering at the expense of the country from vehicle importation and clearing at the ports.
Bomodi who lambasted the protesting agents said those protesting over introduction of VIN, Valuation System are self centered and hypocritical.
Bomodi, in a post on a WhatsApp group monitored by BUSINESSinsiderng said the newly introduced VIN valuation method is in response to demands by some port users who hitherto demanded simplification, harmony and transparency in valuation of vehicles for purpose of duty payment.
Bomodi wrote : “The truth is that most of the individuals protesting the introduction of VIN-Valuation do not care about automation, simplification, harmonisation or even transparency in the system.
“They do not care about the wellbeing of the country or the industry they claim to represent. All they care about are the personal benefits accruable from milking the system.
“They want to pay as little import duty as possible and keep the chunk of the monies for themselves. These persons advocate chaos rather than order. They thrive in wheeling, dealing environments where the price of everything is negotiable.
While urging well meaning Nigerians to embrace the VIN method which relies on artificial intelligence devoid of human contact, Bomodi said users of the system can pay duty after the automated assessment.