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Customs

Customs raises alarm on manipulation of VIN code by freight forwarders

CGC, Ali
Eyewitness reporter
Barely three days after the controversial Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy was relaunched, the management of the Nigeria Customs Service has complained that some freight forwarders are manipulating the  VIN codes.
It could be recalled that there are two types of VIN: Standard VIN with code 000 and Non-standard VIN with code 846.
But in a circular dated May 24th, 2021 and signed by an Assistant Comptroller- General, Tariff and Trade and addressed to all the Area Controllers, the customs authority noted that freight forwarders are misapplying the 846 code for Non-Standard VIN in a manipulative manner.
“The System and have discovered that Declarants are making their declarations using additional Code 846 without the requisite approval from the Customs Area Controllers which is in contravention of the adopted Standard Operating Procedure
(SOP) for the implementation of the VIN valuator,” the circular noted.
It further explained that the introduction of a special procedure with additional code 846 was aimed at aiding the clearance of vehicles without standard VINs as well as salvage and accidented vehicles.
The service, therefore, said the declarant must seek the approval of the CAC under whose command such vehicles are to be cleared with relevant pictorial representation of such vehicles attached.
“Furthermore, the Declarant must seek the approval of the CAC under whose Command such vehicles are to be cleared while the relevant pictorial representation of such vehicles is to be attached and uploaded along with the Inspection Act to enable utilization of the procedure code.
” Consequently, I am directed to bring to your notice that the use of additional Code 846 must be authorized by the CAC while the OC Valuation should issue and account for the appropriate values for such vehicles while DCs Revenue/TS is to make the relevant Inspection Act including a scanned copy of such approvals available on the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS Il).
” All releasing officers are to ensure all SGDs with additional Code 846 have the relevant Inspection Act, the scanned copy of the CACs approval attached and the relevant pictorial representation of the vehicles are attached before release” the circular concluded.
 The VIN valuation policy has been controversial since it was first introduced about two months. At that time, it was greeted with an uproar from the freight forwarders who said that policy placed unrealistic values on vehicles.
This made the Customs suspend the policy and promised to rework it to accommodate the observations of the angry Customs brokers.
The policy which was relaunched on Monday, significantly met the expectations of freight forwarders but its commencement has been bedeviled with some teething problems which the Customs is trying to address.
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Customs

Performance of Apapa Customs scanning officers excites Comptroller Jaiyeoba

The Eyewitness Reporter
The Area Controller of Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba has lauded the uncompromising attitude of the officers of the Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology Unit (NIITU) which he said has been invaluable to the overall success of the command.
Comptroller Jaiyeoba, who was on an unscheduled visit to the scanner site, reminded the officers of the importance of teamwork as a strong basis to sustain the gains of compliance and revenue collection recently recorded by the command.
He thanked Deputy Comptroller Salamatu Atuluku, the Officer in charge of the scanning site and encouraged the unit not to be deterred by complaints coming from persons who were made to pay accurate duties to the government after issuance of demand notices
According to him, no business person who is made to part with money will be happy with officers who refused to compromise the ethics of their job
” The main reason for me coming here is to appreciate you. I may not see you but I have seen your work and I won’t keep quiet about what I have seen about your work.
“You are doing very well. I just want to encourage you to work as a team. If you don’t work as a team, you give room for outsiders to come in and when they come in, they divide you and when they divide you,  achieving success will be very difficult
” Do your work without blemish. Once you keep your arm straight, you can stand before anybody. Your work as a customs officer is to ensure that you do the correct thing
” For those of you doing an intervention in the form of Demand Notice(DN), there is no body who part with money that will be happy with you.
“They will want to play intelligent by hiding somewhere. When you fetch them from their hiding place, they become your enemy. Whatever they write about anybody here will still come down to me and if anybody works well, the onus on me is to defend such a person.
“Just have it at the back of your mind that you owe yourself the duty of doing your work diligently whether anyone comes around as a friend or enemy.
“It is not enough for you to rest. The reward for hard work is more work. These demands require sacrifice so that you can maintain the status” he said.
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Customs

Apapa Customs contributes 36.3 percent of N1. 347 trillion revenue generated by the Service  in three months

Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba
—– as the flagship command grosses N489b in Q1
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service has continued to live up to its status as the Customs’ cash cow as it garnered the sum of N489,614,095,022.15 in the first three months of the year.
The amount, which was 100 percent higher than the N212.5b collected in the corresponding period of 2023, was 36.3 percent of the total earnings of the service in the first quarter of 2024 which stands at N1, 347,675,608,972.75.
In a press statement signed by Abubakar Usman, the Chief Superintendent of Customs and the Public Relations officer of the command, the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba, commended the officers and port stakeholders for their cooperation towards the attainment of the laudable feat and called for sustained compliance by government and private sector stakeholders.
According to the statement, Comptroller Jaiyeoba reminded them that the Apapa Command of the NCS is playing a critical role towards the realisation of the N5.7tr annual target of the NCS in 2024 and as such all hands should be on deck to achieve it.
“The almost N 2 trillion target the command is expected to collect in 2024 is attainable through diligently abiding by the service books of instructions like the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023, government import/export prohibition lists, Common External Tariff and Federal Government approved Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)” the Customs chief said.
While thanking the officers for their punctuality, diligence, and non-compromise in the discharge of their responsibilities, Jaiyeoba reminded them of the CGC Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and Customs Management confidence vested in them.
The CAC reminded them that the present customs management has created room for multiple benefits for those who comply with the rules.
He stated that the recently launched AEO is one of such benefits.
Jaiyeoba described the command’s first quarter collection as a bold step towards the realisation of the target and reminded all port users about the importance of compliance, which, according to him, comes with multiple benefits.
“I want to urge all stakeholders in Apapa Port to keep supporting us in achieving an efficient system where everyone plays by the rules to achieve smoother, seamless, and faster import/export cargo clearance
“Making honest declaration puts the declarant at a vantage position to have a credible reputation and enjoy the benefits that come with earned integrity such as fast track and possible migration to the authorised economic operator(AEO)
” Such attitude of compliance saves time and money as examination officers would find the cargo less cumbersome to process and other units of the service including sister government organisations would not need to flag such cargo for seizure or arrest of the importers/exporters. The cargo gets cleared on time, and payments for penalties after demand notices are not necessary as no DN is issued on compliant import/export.
” I will continue my weekly engagement of stakeholders at various levels to sustain the tempo of our achievements and consolidate on the gains from regular enlightenment of every member of the port community.
“As we step into the second quarter to end the first half of 2024, I am convinced we will do better in revenue collection, facilitate more trade through our port and prevent smuggling under any guise,” the CAC said.
It is on record that the 2024 revenue target of the Apapa Customs put at about N2 trillion is 35.1 percent of the total revenue target of the whole service for the year put at N5. 7 trillion.
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Customs

Customs laments effects of fluctuation in exchange rates on operations, cargo volume

—praises efforts of Finance Minister to stabilise the market 
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has lamented the difficulties posed by the fluctuation in customs exchange rate to the clearance of consignments at the ports as well as its militating effects on cargo volume in the first quarter of the year.
Adewale Adeniyi, the Comptroller General of the Service, while giving the scorecard of the service in the last three months of the year, recounted the damage done to the confidence of the trading public as well as the repercussions of the unstable exchange rates.
According to him, the first quarter witnessed a total number of 28 rates as determined by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which governed the clearance of goods at the ports.
“Additionally, significant fluctuations in exchange rates applied in the customs clearance of consignments posed considerable difficulties.
“As per protocol, the exchange rate utilized by Customs in the clearance of goods via the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) is based on the rate determined by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“In the last quarter, a total of 28 rates were directed by the CBN, ranging from NGN 951.94 per USD 1 in January 2024 to a peak of NGN 1,662.35 per USD 1 in February 2024.
“While a singular exchange rate of NGN 951.94 per USD 1 was maintained in January, February witnessed 15 different spot rates ranging from NGN 951.94 per USD 1 to NGN 1,662.35 per USD 1.
” March saw a total of 13 different spot rates applied, ranging from NGN 1,303.84 to NGN 1,630.16. These fluctuations resulted in an average applied exchange rate of NGN 1,314.03 per USD 1 in the clearance of Customs goods during the quarter”
Adeniyi disclosed that the unstable rates, apart from disrupting the operations of the customs,  also have far-reaching consequences as they sent worrying signals to the market operators and the industry stakeholders.
“The repercussions of these fluctuating rates have sent concerning signals to our stakeholders, affecting and disrupting activities.
” Beyond the speculation regarding potential gains it may have on NCS revenue, the implications on transaction volumes are significant and outweigh any possible benefits.
“These concerns are already manifesting in current activities, with the potential for lagged effects in the coming months” the customs boss lamented.
He however praised the efforts of the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, whose support for the customs made the agency engage the CBN in periodic consultations that eventually restored sanity to the system.
“Mindful of these implications on the trading public and the overall economy, the NCS, with the support of the Honourable Minister of Finance, has initiated periodic consultations with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to mitigate the potential impact of exchange rate fluctuations on import activities.
” The relative stability in the past days can be attributed to the interventions of the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Governor of the CBN.
Adeniyi further rued the campaign of calumny launched against the service by those whom he described as malicious non-state actors to undermine the integrity of the agency.
He vowed that the service, under his leadership, is resolute in solving genuine, evidence-based complaints and observations but will not succumb to cheap blackmail.
“The NCS encountered non-operational challenges stemming from deliberate attempts by malicious actors to undermine the reputation of the Service.
” It is crucial to underscore that the NCS remains resolute in addressing genuine, evidence-based observations, as we have consistently done in the past.
” Constructive, fact-based criticisms channeled through appropriate means are always welcomed by the Service, as they keep us vigilant in fulfilling our commitment to the crucial responsibilities entrusted to us.
” Despite these challenges, we are steadfast in prioritizing transparency and accountability in all our operations, reaffirming our dedication to serving with integrity and excellence” he pledged.
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