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How Customs brokers misused VIN code to circumvent the policy—Tin Can CAC

Comptroller Oloyede
—–says VIN has come to stay
Eyewitness reporter.
The Area Controller of the Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Olakunle Oloyede, has declared that deliberate misuse of code by the fright forwarders was the major challenge which the service had during the implementation of the Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy before its withdrawal.
It could be recalled that the introduction of VIN valuation policy by the Customs sparked off an outrage among the freight forwarders who accused customs of indescriminate and arbitrary imposition of higher and unrealistic values on vehicles.
The agitations eventually made the Customs to suspend the controversial policy for fine-tuning.
However, at a recent media briefing in Lagos, Comptroller Oloyede explained that in a bid to circumvent the policy to pay lower values, clearing agents deliberately mis- applied the VIN code which caused disruptions in the customs system.
“What happened in the VIN Valuation was the misuse of the code”  the erudite risk manager stated.
“We have standard VIN and Non-Standard VIN which we created in import regime and procedures form.”We created, on standard Vin, a procedure code 4000 000

“For Non- Standard VIN, we created 4000 846.

“Standard VIN has 17 digits while Non-Standard VIN  has less or more.

“We know vehicles coming in from China or Europe come with less 17 digits.

“So to accommodate all types of VINs, we need two VINs.

“But the agents, being what they are, they were using 846 code, by either reducing  a digit from the 17 or putting a dot or a slash.

“As a risk manager at the headquarters,  we profiled the declarations they made because anytime we deploy a solution, we expect a feedback of either a negative or positive.

“That will allow us to update, upgrade or fine tune the system.

“But we didn’t have a feedback of either negative ot positive. We later found out, during the risk profile of about 7,000 declarations , we found out that there was a misuse of code.

“It was as a result of that misuse and to correct it that I was brought here.

“When I explained this things to them(agents), they later agreed with me. They even have a problem with value” he declared.

Comptroller Oloyede however said that the much vilified policy has come to stay because it is the norm all over the world in the automation of customs processes.
“I can authoritatively tell you that VIN valuation is going no where.

“It is part of the destructive technologies  we are talking about that will aid trade facilitation.

“We are talking about biometrics, we are talking about artificial intelligence, we are talking about scanners, we are talking about machineries and a whole lot of things.

“VIN valuation is one of them and it is used all over the world which allows you to trace stolen vehicles.

“Most times,INTERPOL will write to us.

“Once you put the VIN, it will give you the history of the vehicle.

“The next stage of VIN Valuation is V- REG. VIN Valuation is a very small part of V-Registration.

“Those who are in charge of V-Reg wanted to take the valuation aspect,when I was in Abuja but we said no, Valuation belongs to Customs.That was why we developed VIN Valuation”

He however acknowledged that the policy has its flaws.
According to him, the customs authority later discovered that the VIN system does not accommodate 10 per cent depreciation level of vehicles, hence the reason why it was suspended for fine-tuning.
“Along the line, we found out that the 10 per cent depreciation was not included, that is why we pulled it down.”Before we bring it up again, we will do enough public enlightment.

“When we did the last one, we had Webinar but our people(Agents) are not with us when it comes to ICT”

The Customs Chief further disclosed that the service will keep improving on the policy until it gets to near perfection.
“We keep at it until we get it perfectly.”When you are developing a solution, you don’t get 100 per cent accuracy, if you get 65 percent to 75 percent, you leave the rest  to update and  upgrade.

“That is how a solution works. No perfect solution. There must be a gap for update and upgrade.
But the policy has come to stay.
“Vin Valuation policy is the fiscal policy of government. It has come to stay” he concluded.

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Nnadi, Tin Can CAC, makes historic visit to MARAN to deepen mutual working relationship.

Funso Olojo 
Apparently acknowledging the pioneering status of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria(MARAN) as a leading light in maritime journalism, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, the Area Controller of the Tin Can Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, storms the International Press Centre of the flagship maritime journalists group Friday, July 12th, 2024.
Nnadi’s visit to the Secretariat of MARAN on 13c Marine Road, Apapa is geared towards forging a strong bond and mutually beneficial working relationship between his command and MARAN.
MARAN hopes to, among other issues, engage the Controller of Tin Can Island Customs Command on the activities of the Command in boosting trade for the overall benefit of the nation.
Comptroller Nnadi has remained a dedicated officer of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) with visible impacts in various Commands he has presided over in the past.
He also has a shining antecedent as an articulated and astute public relations person when he held sway as a public relations officer of Apapa command as a middle-cadre officer before his deserving string of promotions and eventual elevation to his present enviable status as a command’s helmsman.
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House of Representatives beams searchlight on bonded terminals, free trade zones over influx of arms, ammunition into Nigeria

—as Customs realises N2.742 trillion in six months 
Funso Olojo 
Apparently alarmed by the avalanche of seizures of arms and ammunition made by the Nigeria Customs Service recently, the House Committee on Customs and Excise has vowed to scrutinize the operational activities of the country’s bonded terminals and free trade zones.
This decision was made in the belief that these facilities are being used as conduit pipes to smuggle these dangerous weapons into the country.
Revealing the move of the lawmakers on Wednesday, July 10th, 2024 while on an oversight visit to the Customs Headquarters, Abuja, the Chairman, House Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon. Leke Abejide, said the probe was aimed at identifying the complicit operators and eradicating their nefarious activities.
It would be recalled that the Customs, in quick succession, make seizures of large caches of arms and ammunition at Tin Can Port, Onne Port and Lagos ports, the quantity of which alarmed the Nigerian government.
While leading other members of the committee to the Customs headquarters, Abejide commended the vigilance, efficiency and dedication of men and officers of the customs for these seizures and their impressive record of revenue generation
 “We will scrutinise the activities of Bonded Terminals and the operations of the Free Trade Zones (FTZ) facilities across the country to identify and eradicate any illegal businesses and activities”, the lawmaker declared.
 Abejide applauded the outstanding revenue generation, trade facilitation and the Service’s recent achievements in the seizures of arms and ammunition in a Bonded Terminal in Onne Port, Rivers State.
The Chairman also commended a similar seizure made by the officers of NCS Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos  State, which, according to him, is a testament to Customs vigilance and effectiveness.
He observed that the seizures have potentially saved countless Nigerian lives, demonstrating the exceptional skills and dedication of NCS personnel in protecting the nation’s borders.
He urged the NCS officers not to relax, stating that “Every weapon and illicit item seized is a victory, but every attempt to smuggle them into Nigeria is a call to redouble our efforts.”
Responding, the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, said the service is indeed grateful for such commendation, recognition, and applause from the House Committee on Customs and Excise.
The CGC stated that the presence of the House committee underscores the critical role that legislative oversight plays in ensuring the efficiency, transparency, and accountability of NCS operations and project implementation.
According to him, as committee members, their dedication to scrutinising and supporting NCS activities is invaluable.
 “The insight you bring into the oversight function and the guidance you have always provided helps Customs to serve the nation better, facilitate trade and secure the borders while collecting revenue, vital to the economy.”
‘’In all aspects of our work and projects, I want to assure you that we submit wholeheartedly to legislative compliance, and we will be willing to implement directive resolutions given to us in the day-to-day operation of the Nigeria Customs Service.
“Your feedback and recommendations are crucial to our efforts to streamline our processes to improve our efficiency and uphold the highest standard of integrity and services,” he stated.
Giving a breakdown of the success stories of the NCS, Caroline Niagwan, the Deputy Comptroller-General in charge of Tariff and Trade, said the service was able to generate 2.742trillion naira within the first half of 2024, surpassing the first half of the year’s expected revenue target of 2.539trillion naira, representing 54 percent of the revenue target for the year.
She said, “In the period under review, the average daily revenue collection has been N27.5 billion daily, surpassing the target of N19.460 billion
“The service has achieved a 126.64 percent increase within the first half of the year due to teamwork and measures put in place to block revenue leakages.
“We have an outstanding 2.168 trillion to collect.”
She noted that for the service to align with international best practices, trade facilitation tools have been upgraded to Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Programs where reliable and compliant traders are rewarded for taking their goods with little or no customs control when they meet specific safety and security standards.
Also speaking, Deputy Comptroller-General in charge of Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation, Bello Jibo, revealed that ‘Operation Whirlwind’ had made a lot of seizures of petroleum products.
 He revealed that NCS is collaborating with the NNPC to achieve so much.
“On the issue of security, the CGC held a press conference in Onne, Port-Harcourt, where a container fully loaded with arms and ammunition was arrested by our officers, which was later handed over to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
” We collaborate and exchange intelligence among ourselves to enhance our activities.’’ DCG Jibo stated.
Furthermore, the Assistant-Comptroller General in charge of Information and Communication Technology, Kikelomo Adeola, revealed that unit officers built the application for the e-auction.
She stated that capacity-building programs are ongoing as part of the deliverables of the Trade Modernization Project, in addition to the provision of software and hardware components of the exercise.
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Adeniyi, CGC, performs groundbreaking ceremony of 30-bed ultra-modern reference hospital in Bauchi

 Funso Olojo
The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, on Monday, 8 July 2024, performs a groundbreaking ceremony for a 30-bed ultra-modern reference hospital donated by  Abdul Samad Rabiu (ASR) Initiative for Africa in Bauchi.
Speaking at the event, CGC Adewale Adeniyi expressed profound gratitude to the ASR Initiative for their generous contribution, emphasising the project’s significance in enhancing the welfare of customs officers and the local community.
“We are happy to be a recipient of this great project. It will immensely help our officers and the entire community,” he stated.
Dr. Ubong Udoh, CEO of the ASR Initiative for Africa, extended his appreciation to CGC Adeniyi for honouring his commitment by attending the ceremony.
He highlighted the enduring nature of the partnership between the ASR Initiative and the NCS, noting the limitless potential of their collaborative efforts.
“I believe the potential of what we can achieve as partners is limitless,” Dr. Udoh remarked.
Hon. Tanko Dutse, representing the local community, thanked the CGC for supporting the NCS office in Bauchi.
He acknowledged the office’s positive impact on security and other local issues.
“The community and state at large appreciate the presence of the NCS. This hospital will allow our people who lack the means to access other medical facilities to receive necessary healthcare.
“We appeal for more of such Corporate Social Responsibilities,” he said.
Architect Muktar Aliyu, the project manager,  assured attendees of the hospital’s potential to revolutionise healthcare services in the area.
 “This 30-bed ultra-modern hospital is a commitment to healthcare and the community’s future.
“Together, we can build a legacy of resilience and quality healthcare,” he stated.
The groundbreaking ceremony marks a significant milestone in the NCS’s efforts to enhance the welfare of its personnel and contribute to the community’s well-being, reflecting the strong partnership between the Nigeria Customs Service and the ASR Initiative for Africa.
In a separate engagement, the CGC addressed the officers and men serving in  Zone  D Headquarters, Bauchi/Gombe Area Command and Federal Operations Unit Zone D,
“I am here to encourage you to do more by effectively discharging the statutory functions of NCS in this Zone.
“Make sure you utilise the opportunity at your disposal to improve yourselves intellectually in preparation for future challenges. “
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