Customs Suspend VIN Automation Policy for 30 days

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CEM REPORT | Authorities of the Nigeria Customs Service have finally approved a 30 day suspension of the implementation of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy which was recently introduced on imported used vehicles; Channels has reported

According to a circular dated March 7th, 2022, and titled, ‘Approval Of Grace Period, To Clear Backlog Of Vehicles’, the suspension begins from Tuesday, March 8th, 2022.

There have been demonstration by licensed Customs Agents in conflict with the Nigerian Customs which insisted on implementation of the policy leading to the shutdown of Port activities for several weeks.

The policy gives directive for importers to auto-generate tariffs on imported cars had led to weeks of demonstration and the shutdown of port activities by licensed Customs Agents, while the service insist on implementation led to the shutdown of port activities

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The policy allows for importers to auto-generate tariffs on imported cars. The VIN is is a centralised database for all vehicles in Nigeria incorporated in the National Vehicle Registry (VREG) established by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning and being implemented by NCS.

Through the registry, vehicular information such as ownership, specifications, and history of each vehicle in the country could be established.

Also, it is expected to solve the problem of customs duty evasion, vehicle theft, vehicle-related crimes, and ineffective vehicle insurance coverage due to the lack of a centralized vehicular information system.

The controversy surrounding the implementation of the policy is its application to vehicles already imported into the country before the enactment of the policy which as a result, had entered demurrage.

Custom Agents recognized under the aegis of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN), and African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), the viewed the 72-hour notice inadequate.

“We are not against the policy, we are only against the implementation of the policy”; says one custom agent

The suspension giving a 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.

Importers and agents are also warned to ensure the uniform application of rebates for all vehicles using the correct values for their assessments, according to the statement.

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