Connect with us

Freight Monitor

Customs brokers adamant on VIN policy

Representatives of five freight forwarding associations with Shippers' council boss, Emmanuel Jime
—-resume clearance of general cargo
Eyewitness reporter
Agitating Customs brokers, who have engaged the Nigeria Customs Service in a standoff over the controversial Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy, have vowed not to back down on their decision to shun clearance of vehicles at the Ports, specifically at the Port and Terminal Multi-Purpose Limited(PTML) and Tin Can Island port,  until the implementation of what they described as fraudulent valuation system is reversed.
However, the clearing agents, whose membership cut across the five federating associations recognized by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN), have agreed to resume clearance of general cargo after a week of strike action.
Their decision to shift ground a little was sequel to the intervention of the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’Council, Emmanuel Jime, who hosted the protesting customs brokers to a peace meeting last week in his office.
During the meeting with the representatives of the five accredited associations, Jime had called for a truce, asking the freight forwarders to resume work as he would personally engage the Customs top hierarchy in a discussion over the contentious VIN valuation policy.
He commended the clearing agents for their patriotism since their protest was not against the VIN policy but its implementation.

The Shippers’Council boss further assured to escalate the matter to the Ministry of Transportation and management of the NCS for understanding and amicable resolution by all relevant parties.

To help the NSC fast-track a resolution, Jime also constituted a committee comprising members of freight forwarding associations and members of the NSC, with the mandate to list the unions’ grouses against the VIN policy and their demands.

At the meeting, the associations, which also insisted on their preference for the automated system, had told the NSC management that the NCS’ outrageous duty on imported used vehicles based on the recently introduced VIN valuation policy rather than transaction value, was unacceptable and mischievous.

The National Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA), Abdullazeez Babatunde expressed concern that contrary to the globally accepted and rational practice, the policy deliberately ignores the wear and tear and depreciation value of the vehicles in generating duties.

“Customs has refused to openly address the issue associated with the new policy after admitting to the fact that there is an error associated with the policy,” he said.For instance, he claimed that a 2012 car model with a market value of less than N4 million is now rated about N12 million. Therefore, they demanded a temporary return to manual valuation till the issues are resolved.

Similarly, the NAGAFF Deputy National President, Dr. Segun Musa, expressed dismay that rather than encourage trade facilitation, “vehicle smuggling will increase and the government will have to channel its limited resources to combating smuggling.

“If this isn’t nipped in the bud, there is also the tendency for customs to come up with similar approaches for other goods.

“This will push importers away, companies will shut down and jobs would be lost, while the government uses the limited resources to buy guns to fight smugglers.”

Babatunde disclosed that the NCS leadership had a week earlier assured the agents that it would suspend the VIN valuation system but reneged on that.

 According to him, “we met the customs and conveyed these concerns. We also appealed to the Comptroller-General of Customs in subsequent letters.

“It is important to note that 70-90 percent of vehicles are imported through Tin Can and PTML. Customs agreed that the VIN valuation design neglected the extant laws on wear and tear as well as the 10 percent depression in the value of used cars.

“Less than 10 percent of the vehicles at the ports were able to access the customs portal for the duties. There are several issues that we observed and we asked them to revert to a manual process while these issues are resolved.

“We aren’t against automation because it is what we have always wanted, but the process must be transparent and realistic.” the ANLCA chief scribe declared.
He however told his members after the meeting that the agitations over the controversial VIN valuation policy continue until the Customs’ management reverses what he called the obnoxious system.
“Dear Professional Colleagues, five CRFFN federating Freights associations, arose from an intervention, fact-finding meeting called by Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers Council on 25/2/2022 to find lasting solutions to the lingering strike action, premised on poorly designed modernisation project of Nigeria Customs service E-VIN Valuation specific at Roro ports(Tincan and PTML) Customs Command.
“We listened to the appeal of the E.S to go back to work in the interest of the national economy, while he pledged personally to engage the C.G of Customs for review.
“It was unanimously agreed that E-VIN Valuation strike actions Continue on Vehicles clearance until Customs engage further to redesign the E-VIN Valuation with cognizance of the extant Legal Notice No:30 that dealt with wears and tears, Salvage certificated Vehicles and Mileage reading to amend the outrageous E-VIN Value,as inputed presently.
“That other goods be allowed exit out of ports, with waivers request while review lasted”
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Freight Monitor

ANLCA cracks

Emenike Nwekeoji , ANLCA President
–ASECO chair resigns, cites internal pressure, backbiting, distrust
— insurrection at MMIA chapter as coup against chairman foiled 
The Eyewitness Reporter
Six months after the highly factionalized elections which brought in the duo of Emenike Nwekeoji and Olusegun Oduntan as the National President and Vice President respectively of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in September 2023, the graveyard peace which heralded the pyrrhic victory seems to have ruptured.
The fragile peace, which was the fallout of the five years of bitter and intractable war that sent the oldest freight forwarding association to a state of inertia, now seems to have given way to distrust, bickering, animosity, suspicion and repressed anger among the top echelon of the association.
To underline the smouldering fresh crisis that has hit the association, Nze Aloy Emeka Igwe, the Chairman of the Association Elections Committee(ASECO )of ANLCA, has resigned his appointment.
In his letter of resignation dated 27th, February 2024 and addressed to the National President, Emenike Nwekeoji, Igwe, in a voice laden with regret and bitterness, cited extraneous influence, backbiting, under current and lack of trust” as the reasons why he called it quit.
“ASECO as presently constituted depicts a divided house due to the extraneous influence and pressure.
” The under current, the backbiting and lack of trust within and without ASECO have caused me to review my membership and chairmanship of the committee.
“I have deeply addressed my thoughts to this, consulted my family, friends and associates and decided that my time with ASECO is irreversibly over.
“There is no energy, no motivation left in me to continue to work under the prevailing regrettable circumstances” Igwe bemoaned.
A few days after the resignation of the highly traumatized ASECO chairman, a coup was played out at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport chapter of the association where one Chief Bola Ashiru Balogun, one of the defeated candidates of the chapter elections staged an unsuccessful coup to unseat the incumbent chairman, Bangbala Adewusi, Monday, March 4th,2024.
In a commando-like style, Chief Bola Balogun came into the Chairman’s office with officers of the Police Force from the Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2, Onikan.
According to an eyewitness account, on the strength of a petition of threat to Life against the Chairman, the Chairman, Chief Adewusi followed them to the Zonal Headquarters
“While the Chairman was away to Zone 2, Chief Bola Balogun allegedly came with hoodlums and area boys to forcefully break into the office of the Chairman and seize power forcefully on the strength of a May 2023 court judgement, which has been appealed and is currently being heard by the Appeal Court”
However, the attempt to unseat Chief Adewusi, who sources said was an unpopular chairman foisted  on the chapter by the cabal in ANLCA, was thwarted by members of the Task Force, led by the CSO, Mr. Maxwell Onyemachi, and other well-meaning members of the chapter loyal to the embattled chairman.
However, the last is yet to be head of the failed coup at the MMIA chapter as a group loyal to Chief Ashiru Balogun has promised to relaunch the attack on the Chairman, Chief Adewusi who they regarded as a puppet of the cabal in the association.
Stakeholders feared that the recent happening in the association may have signaled the slide of ANLCA back to another round of crisis which has ravaged the war-weary group for five years before its graveyard peace that is now shortlived.
The ANLCA President, Emenike Nwekeoji, through the Sectary of the Association, Olumide Fakanlu, “has graciously accepted the resignation letter of the highly embittered ASECO chairman.
In his acceptance letter dated March 1st, 2024 and signed by Fakanlu, the ANLCA President said the letter was received with mixed feelings but nonetheless, it was graciously accepted while wishing Emeka Igwe well in his future endeavours, thus signaling the resumption of hostilities in the acclaimed oldest freight forwarding Association in Nigeria’s maritime industry
Continue Reading

Freight Monitor

CRFFN’s desperate gasp for survival

Mrs Chinyere Uromta, Acting Registrar, CRFFN.

The Eyewitness Reporter

Like a sinking man, the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria(CRFFN) is currently gasping for breath.

The council, created by the Act of the National Assembly No 16 2007, to regulate and control the practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria, has largely remained ineffective and redundant over the years.

Under its watch, the freight forwarders, its primary constituents, have been subjected to several operational challenges which have crippled their businesses, without the Council raising as much as a finger to stand in the gap for them.

Under the nose of the CRFFN, the shipping companies and terminal operators have turned the hapless freight forwarders into punching bags through arbitrary and frivolous charges.

Under the nose of the Council, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has severally increased the Customs duty exchange rate to the point of suffocating the freight forwarders out of business.

In all of these several challenges, the CRFFN stands arms akimbo, watching as the freight Forwarders are being buffeted from all sides without any glimmer of intervention.

Curiously, these are the same distraught and bruised freight forwarders from whom the Council expects to collect Practitioners Operating fee(POF).

A responsible and responsive Council, which is charged not only with regulating the freight forwarding practice but equally charged with ensuring that the operating environment for the freighters is conducive for thriving businesses, would have been seen fighting for the welfare and well-being of its constituents.

A caring Council should have been seen liaising with the CBN, Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigeria Customs Service on ways to ensure that the operating environment for the freight forwarders is guaranteed amidst the frequent changes in customs duty exchange rate.

We are not saying the council should or could stop the increase as they are subject to fiscal and monetary policies of the government but at least, the council, through such discussions, interaction and collaboration, would have not only passed the message to the authorities but be seen by the freight forwarders that they have a trusted ally in the council.

Similarly, an effective council should have been seen to have severally engaged the Nigeria Shippers’ Council, which regulates the commercial activities of the terminal operators and shipping companies, over the arbitrary charges of these entities.

But CRFFN, over the years, didn’t do any of these. Rather what its management is concerned about is the collection of POF.

No wonder the Council is not popular among the freight forwarders who regard the body as ineffective and which made them resisted the payment of  POF.

It took the bully and ministerial directive of the erstwhile Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to coerce the hapless freight forwarders to pay the controversial POF.

That is why we see the current effort of Mrs Chinyere Uromta, the Acting Registrar of the CRFFN and her team to “befriend” the freight forwarding Associations as a desperate bid to make the council survive and remain relevant in the industry it is supposed to regulate and superintendent over.

When last had the council made this kind of  gesture towards its constituency?

But when the Federal government pulled the rug under the council by removing it from its budgetary allocation , that was when the CRFFN suddenly found its subjects as beautiful brides.

It is even more disheartening to note that throughout the engagement of the council with these Associations, how to raise revenue through the enhanced formula of POF collection was what dominated the discussion of the council.

We are not aware where the council, during its tour of its constituents, raised the operational challenges of the freight forwarders such as the indiscriminate and sometimes frivolous charges by the service providers.

Not once did Mrs. Uromta express concern and probably sympathy with the freight forwarders over the frequent adjustment of customs duty exchange rate by the CBN.

Her preoccupation was how can the council remains financially stable following the removal of the CRFFN from the federal government “freebies”

“We are expecting a final meeting that could lead us to collection of POF at the airports because we know that our money is still there.

“We pray that by the support of the Ministry and the cooperation of stakeholders, that meeting will be called any moment from now.

“It was the same meeting the former Minister of Transportation, the same letter that was written to the NPA that facilitated our collection at the seaport, the same letter the Minister had written to the aviation to direct NCAA to initiate that move.

“So, we are looking forward to the fruitfulness of that meeting and when it is done, we solicit for the cooperation of stakeholders because any money realized, part of it will still go back to stakeholders for training and every other challenge that we have in the ports that has to do with our mandate.”

That was Mrs. Uromta discussing how to collect enhance the collection of POF at the seaports and commence its collection at the cargo airport and the border post and the modalities for sharing formula.

Not once did she mention the operational challenges the practitioners are currently facing.

Even if the proposed review of the Act that established the Council eventually sails through ( that might take quite some time) the popularity rating of the Council will not improve if the regulatory body continues to ignore the welfare of the freight forwarders.

The previous Registrars, especially the immediate Registrar, Sam Nwokohu, have done great harm to the psyche of the freight forwarders through his alleged arrogance, high- handedness, and gross financial impropriety which have combined to make the council a pariah among its constituents.

Mrs. Uromta and her team should be more creative and proactive in their approach toward reflating the burst image of the council.

In as much as she has the right to ensure the financial stability and survival of the council, Uromta should not forget that her constituents, the agonised, distraught and highly bruised freight forwarders equally have the right to business stability in an operating environment that would stimulate and sustain their economic survival.

Part of the strategic agenda of the council as contained in its Act includes “to  promote enabling entrepreneurial environment for Freight Forwarding business, thereby creating employment opportunities for teaming Nigeria”

“To embark on rigorous research to enable the Council benchmark Freight Forwarding in Nigeria with international best practices”

“To make the Council an international training hub for Freight Forwarding, logistics and supply chain management”

“To develop a comprehensive Freight Forwarding policy and to re-position the sub-sector”

To what extent has the council fulfilled this mandate since its creation?

The incumbent management of the council should do more to meet some of these mandates rather than its present panicky and desperate measures for survival.

Continue Reading

Freight Monitor

Major industry stakeholders shun ANLCA’s NECOM inauguration

The Eyewitness Reporter 
Apparently pissed off by the protracted crisis that had made the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) a laughing stock in the maritime industry in the last five years, major industry stakeholders stayed away from the inauguration of the new National Executive Council of the association.
The new NECOM, headed by Emenike Nwokeoji, was inaugurated Thursday, November 23rd, 2023 at Marcellina Place on Isaac John Street, Ikeja.
Despite the hyped nature of the event with a vaunted grade A list of invited stakeholders, most of the stakeholders whose names were flaunted at the pre-event press conference shunned the inauguration ceremony.
Top on the list of the invited guest who didn’t honour the invitation was Wale Adeniyi, the Comptroller General of Customs, who was said to have indicated his intention to personally attend.
“Already, the Customs Comptroller General has given us his word that he would be coming personally for the inauguration” the Special Assistant to the ANLCA President on Media, Alhaji Ayokunle Sulaiman, had boasted a few days before the event.
Adeniyi sent ACG Jibo Mohammed, Zonal Coorinator, Zone A, Lagos.
Curiously, none of the heads of the agencies of government in the maritime industry such as the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Shippers’Council Council, Council of Registered Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN) showed up nor sent their representatives.
More instructive was the absence of the CRFFN which is the regulatory agency for the freight forwarding industry to which ANLCA belongs.
The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola, neither came nor sent a representative.
The mass boycott of the event by the notable industry players was despite the hype to which the organizers had subjected the expected attendance of these critical stakeholders.
“The industry bigwigs, which included the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola, the Comptroller General of Customs Adewale Adeniyi, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohamed Bello-Koko, all indicated their interest to attend” Alhaji Ayokunle Sulaiman had further declared before the event.
More instructive is the absence of some of the past Presidents of the Association whose attendance would have further boosted the event.
An eyewitness account has it that apart from three past leaders of ANLCA such as Prince Shittu Olayiwola, Alhaji Innua Mohammed and understandably, Chief Ernest Elochukwu, others stayed away without sending representatives.
This was despite their hyped expected attendance.
“Also, past presidents of ANLCA and past Board of Trustees Chairmen will be in attendance” Alhaji Ayokunle Sulaiman had declared prior to the event.
Most of the terminal operators, who have business nexus with the freight forwarders, were also not keen to attend the hyped event.
Apart from Grimaldi, operators of PTML and ENL, which sent junior representatives, others like PTML, Ports and Cargos, Five Stars Logistics, and Tin Can Island Port terminal all stayed away.
For inexplicable reasons, sister freight forwarding groups, who are among the five registered freight forwarding associations with the CRFFN, also stayed away, except the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) whose President was in attendance.
However, according to eyewitness reports, what the event lacked in attendance of key industry stakeholders, it gained in the massive presence of the ANLCA members who thronged the venue apparently due to long years of being starved of such air of conviviality as a result of the long- drawn crisis in ANLCA.
Stakeholders however believed that the absence of key industry stakeholders at the ANLCA event despite their due invitation and consultation is a sign of delibitating confidence of this important stock in the industry due to the long years of factional war in the association.
They however urged the Emenike Nwokeoji-led executive council to work assiduously in order to restore the fading glory of ANLCA.
Continue Reading

Trending