—-grants 30- day reprieve for striking agents to clear abandoned vehicles at ports.
After sustained pressure by the determined freight forwarders, the Nigeria Customs Service has finally suspended the controversial Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy for 30 days.
The suspension was sequel to the long-drawn protests and strike action which culminated in the stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Customs authority to gauge the mood of the irate customs brokers.
In the circular titled “Approval of Grace Period To Clear Backlog Of Vehicles’ dated March 7th, 2022 and signed on behalf of Comptroller General of Customs by H.K Gummi, the Assistant Comptroller General, the reprieve period takes effect from Tuesday, March, 8th, 2022.
According to the circular with reference number NCS/T&T/ACG/008/S.100/VOL 111 and issued on Monday, the service said it has approved one month window to enable the clearing agents to clear the backlog of vehicles held up in the port as a result of the strike action.
The circular reads, “Sequel to the recent Customs, stakeholders town hall meeting held in Lagos on the VIN-Valuation, the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), having listened to public outcry, has graciously approved one month window to enable clearing the backlog of vehicles held up in the ports as a result of the strike action.”
The circular addressed to all the Area Controllers of customs, said,
“Meanwhile, you are requested to ensure the uniform application of rebates for all vehicles using the correct values for your assessments.
“The VIN-Valuation protocol is still in operation as reviews and updates are being captured in our system to reflect these adjustments.”
The circular further directed all the Area Controllers to monitor the transition period and ensure manual assessments are in compliance with extant laws of the hand.
“Area Controllers are expected to monitor this transition period and ensure manual assessments are in full compliance with extant laws.
” This grace period is for one month, beginning from Tuesday 8 Mar 22.
“You are to bring the contents of this circular to your Officers and the General public for their information and guidance, please,” the CGC declared.
With this reprieve, the beleaguered freight forwarders are expected to end their strike action which entered the third week this week, and commence taking delivery of the abandoned vehicles estimated to be over 12, 000.
Alhaji Abdulaziz Babatunde, the Secretary-General of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) said the decision of the Customs on the vexed issue was expected and welcomed development.
“We are not against the VIN policy as an automation process of valuation but what we have been agitating against is the mode of implementation which appropriates internet-based values on vehicles.
“Under the now-suspended VIN, the valuation method does not factor in the current state of the vehicle such as savage, millage, and depreciation level of the vehicles so much so that the suspended policy treats accidented vehicles as new in valuation.
” The policy, as it was initially designed, does not give discounted value on vehicles based on their depreciation level but generates values on the internet.
” That was our grouse” the ANLCA Chief Scribe explained.
He urged the Customs to discountenance the use of Internet-generated value on vehicles by using the period of grace to redesign the policy that will give a discounted rate to vehicles based on their depreciation level.
Abdulaziz urged the Customs brokers who have Savage certificates to go and take delivery of their vehicles at a discounted rate, using the old manual valuation method.
He observed that the customs could still get their duties with the discounted valuation system.
”With this, it is going to be a win-win situation as both parties will now resolve their differences in an amicable way without any side suffering any collateral damage”, the ANLCA Chief declared.
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Maiwada, Customs’ chief spokesman, receives diadem over his public relations prowess
The Eyewitness Reporter
The National Public Relations of the Nigeria Customs Service, Chief Superintendent of Customs, Abdullahi Aliyu Maiwada, has been honored with the prestigious ‘Spokesperson of the Year’ Award by Spokesperson’s Digest, a division of Image Merchant Public Relations.
The event, held in Abuja and attended by distinguished personalities, showcased Maiwada’s exceptional public relations contributions and unwavering commitment to the Nigeria Customs Service.
In an exclusive post-award speech, Maiwada shared insights into the driving forces behind his success.
“This accolade not only acknowledges my dedication but also inspires me to elevate my contributions further.
” My motivation comes from a deep passion for my work and the unwavering support of my dedicated team,” he stated emphatically.
Known for his dynamic leadership style, Maiwada attributed the success to the collaborative efforts of his staff.
He added, “Today’s recognition is a testament to the collective efforts of my team, serving as a motivating force to strive for excellence.”
Beyond the immediate team, Maiwada expressed gratitude for the motivational guidance he receives from the Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and his Management Team.
“He highlighted his belief in extracting the best from his work, adding, “I believe in getting the best out of my work, and this passion, combined with the support of my team and the guidance from my elders, has been the driving force behind my success.”
The National PRO, recognized not just for his professional acumen but also for his commitment to mentorship, urged organizers to continue appreciating the dedication and enthusiasm of media practitioners and agencies.
He emphasized the need to sustain a culture of recognition for those making significant contributions in their respective fields.
In his closing remarks, Maiwada extended heartfelt appreciation to the Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs Headquarters Adeogun Alajogun, who represented the CGC at the event for his unwavering support, acknowledging his pivotal role in his accomplishments as the direct supervisor of the Nigeria Customs Service Public Relations Unit.
The ceremony not only celebrated an individual’s achievement but also highlighted the collaborative spirit and dedication within the Nigeria Customs Service, reinforcing their commitment to excellence in public relations.
Customs promises to mitigate impact of increase in duty exchange rate through trade facilitation
The latest duty exchange rate has since been reflected on the Customs portal.
Before the latest increase, the exchange rate for customs duty in June was N420 per dollar before it was jerked up to N775 per dollar in July.
Shortly after that, it jumped to N778 per dollar before the latest increase to N951.941 per dollar.
However, the customs has explained that it would ensure that there is a minimum delay in the customs process in order to ensure customs agents take delivery of their cargo without incurring demurrage.
Explaining the position of the customs on the increase yesterday, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, the Tin Can Customs Area controller, said there was little the customs could do over the fiscal and monetary policies which he said are within the purview of the federal government while the customs merely implements them.
Nnadi, however, promised that the customs, especially his command, Tin Can Island Port, would try to optimise its service delivery by facilitating trade to minimize the anticipated delays and resultant demurrage in order to mitigate the effects of the sudden increase.
“We are all affected, including the customs officers, by the increase.
“There is no separate supermarket where they sell customs bread”
” We as Nigeria Customs officers, just like other Nigerians, woke up this morning( Yesterday, December 7th) to find out that the exchange rate, which is the yardstick for the collection of customs duty, has been jerked up.
” Before June/ July, it was 420 per dollar, by July, it jumped to N775 to dollars, shortly after, it jumped to N778 to a dollar and this morning (yesterday, December 7th), it was increased to N951.941per dollar.
” We understand the implication of this on trade, bearing in mind letters of credit have been opened, contracts have been signed, supplies have been made, and people have negotiated business transactions based on the previous exchange rate.
” And we recognize the import of this exchange rate on trade.
” We recognize what the Nigeria business community is going through but there is little we can do as customs service about the fiscal and monetary policies.
” Our role is to implement them, we do not make these policies and we align ourselves with government decisions.
” Every decision taken by government is for the collective interest of the nation and we expect that we must all abide by it.
” As Customs, what we can do to mitigate the impact of what the trading public is going to go through in the next few days because of the increase in the exchange rate is to optimise our service delivery where there are expected delays in customs process to make up for this sudden increase.
“We will try to facilitate trade so that whatever little money you would have paid on demurrage, you can now use it to make up for this sudden increase and that is what I can manage.
“We do this because if the agents go back to their importers and ask them to raise additional funds to augment the one they have paid because of the sudden increase, the importers may find it difficult to raise the money and there will be delay and the attendant demurrage.
” So what we can do as customs service, is to minimize these expected delays through facilitation of trade.
” The Nigeria Customs Service cannot manage the other aspect of price increase because that is the function of federal government directive” Comptroller Nnadi explained in a very comprehensive manner to exonerate the customs service from these sudden increases in the exchange rates.
He however believed that most of the trade activities in Nigeria are being heavily subsidized by the government which makes citizens of the neighbouring countries cross the borders to Nigeria to buy goods in Nigeria.
” But I am by no means justifying the incessant and sudden increments in tariff.
” But Nigerians must be patriotic enough to obey government policies when they are issued because every government policy is issued in the best interest of the people” the Customs chief sermonises.
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