Barely three weeks after Nigeria Customs Service suspended for one month, its Vehicle Identification Number/e-valuation policy for imported vehicles to enable freight forwarders to clear their backlog of vehicles trapped in the ports, clearing agents operating in the nation’s maritime sector have threatened to embark on a fresh strike if the NCS fails to review its price charts for imported vehicles.
According to the agents, the Customs’ current price charts for duty payments on imported vehicles are old and overvalued.
It was gathered from the interview with the Chairman, Tin-Can Island chapter of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Abayomi Duyile that although the NCS had reverted to the manual system for duty assessment, the duties were still about40 per cent higher that “current market realities.”
Duyile said, “We have gone back to the manual system of issuance of values. However, we are still having a few challenges in the sense that some of those prices are still 40 per cent above the current market realities. This is simply because the Customs chart from which the officials get the value is yet to be reviewed.
“What we are trying to explain to them is simple. Let us assume the chart was issued in 2011, and for example, they issued $24, 000 for the 2010 model of a brand of vehicle; you know that by 2022, which is about eight years after, there is a need for a review of that amount in order to take into cognisance the fact that from 2011 to 2022, the car must have been used and there must be wear and tear.
“So, we are asking for a review of the chart in order to conform to the present market reality; the Customs can then do the needful which is about a 50 per cent rebate. We are ready to pay but they are not willing to review the chart. However, we are waiting for them because the one-month period given by the Customs expires next week Thursday.
“We are waiting for them to see what they will come up with but we have made our positions known. The only thing we are asking for is that a review is done on those value charts in their systems, these things are old. They are supposed to take into consideration the year they issued those charts and do the needful.
“If they fail to review the chart, we will go back on strike. If at the end of the day the amount is still high, we will have to reject it. There is a need to conform to modern-day reality.”
The National Vice Chairman of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, Kayode Farinto corroborated what Duyile said, adding that the NCS had been depending on the Internet to determine its value.
He said, “That has been our position too, it should be reviewed because what they gave us was Internet value. The one-month grace period cannot count too as there was a breakdown for almost four days, so for me, it is only the second week now.
“It cannot be one month by next week, the ending of next week cannot be the end of one month because there was a period of the server breakdown, so they need to extend for another two weeks.
“I don’t want to pre-empt if there would be another strike, let us see what happens, nobody likes to go on strike. But let us review it first and see what happens.”