By Frank Odinukaeze
L- R Mr Iyke Umelo Secretary Association of Professional Freight Forwarders Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON),Mr George Okafor of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF),Mrs Jewel Igwe National Council for Managing Directors (NCDMDLA), Mr Clinton Okoro PRO. (APFFLON) Comrade Yakubu Fatai (NCMDLA)and Mrs Monije Onome of (ANCLA) at the MAJAN Round Table on Tuesday in Lagos.
As a result of the high valuation of non standard vehicles and increased costs of clearing, importers have jettisoned the clearing of their vehicles as they feel that the sales of such vehicles are no longer profitable.
Speaking at the Round Table discussion organised by the Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN)at its Secretariat in Apapa, on Tuesday, the Secretary of the Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON),Mr Iyke Umelo said the inability of the NCS to input some brands of vehicles like Mercedes Benz,Toyota Corolla,BMW, Lexus and others has affected the clearing of vehicles from terminals and this has forced some importers to abandon their vehicles because even when they clear such vehicles they cannot be sold because of the cost.
He said this has also caused congestion in the ports.
“This problem has led to these brands of vehicles being automatically classified as non standard value”, he said.
Umelo noted that the problem freight agents are encountering is in the area of non standard VIN valuation which has generated a lot of controversy in terms of its high costs and corruptive tendencies.
He said from all indications it appears the NCS is systematically trying to discourage the importation of over-aged vehicles.
Speaking also the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of APFFLON, PTML chapter, Mr Clinton Okoro noted that VIN valuation is causing delay and demurrage in the port , stressing that the NCS is not ready to go back to the drawing board to fine tune the VIN valuation system,forcing everyone to lose revenue.
Also speaking,Mrs Jewel Igwe of National Council for Managing Directors of Licenced Customs Agents(NCDMLCA) flayed the NCS for not working with the 15 years or 12 years vehicle age as recommended by going ahead to input nine years into the system thereby causing a serious jerk up in the cost of clearing vehicles.
In her own contributions, Mrs Monije Onome of Association of Nigeria Licenced Clearing Agents (ANLCA) decried the human interference associated with the non standard valuation which opens way for corruption.She called on the NCS to make available a data base or chart from which agents could be able to know what they should pay as duty for any Vehicle.
The stakeholders lamented the disparity in valuation between same vehicles from Asia and America.While same vehicle from America is valued low the one from Asia is valued higher.
While commending the NCS on standard VIN valuation stakeholders also advised that they should stick to seamless operation from non standard which according to them is replete with corruption.
“The non standard VIN is another way to encourage corruption because freight forwarders are often encouraged to negotiate for a lower value as agents are forced to induce customs to reduce value.”
On the Vehicle Registration (V-Reg),Mrs Onome of ANCLA lamented the inability to identify the office of the V-REG in the state stressing the problem agents encounter with the system and called for the elimination of bottlenecks associated with the V-Reg.
She called on the Federal Ministry of Finance to open a verifiable office in Lagos State for V-Reg and also include importers icon to make it easy for payment,as this will eliminate multiple payments before you are allowed to do VIN valuation.