May 21, (THEWILL) – The Nigeria Customs Service has announced changes in the age limit of vehicles coming into the country from 15 years down to 12 years, warning that any importer that brings vehicles older than 12 years shall be impounded henceforth.
This indication was given on Thursday, during the demonstration and sensitisation of stakeholders on the new electronic Vehicles Identification Number (e-VIN) Valuation Policy of the customs, held at the Apapa Customs command.
Comptroller Anthony Udenze of the Tariff and Trade Department at Customs headquarters, first gave the indication, saying that the age limit for vehicles have been reduced to 12 years.
This point was later reiterated by the National Public Relations Officer of Customs, Deputy Comptroller Timi Bomodi, saying that a car of 2007 would be impounded by the service.
He was responding to plea by freight forwarders that customs should maintain status quo on the 15 years age limit, as this is what importers are working with.
“This policy is not a new policy, if you import a 2007 car, it would be seized, if you bring a vehicle that is older than what the government allows, it would be seized”, he warned.
Meanwhile, the customs e-VIN Valuation Policy started on Friday, May 20, 2022, at the ports.
It could be recalled that the e-VIN valuation was first introduced about two months ago, but it was greeted with uproar from the freight forwarders, who described the policy as inhuman and unrealistic due to the high values imposed on vehicles, and the lack of consideration for rebate on accident-affected and used vehicles.
This led to the suspension of the system by the customs authority, which thereafter, reworked and improved the policy by accommodating the observations and grievances of freight forwarders.
Speaking at the stakeholders meeting, Customs Area Controller of Apapa Customs, Compt Yusuf Malanta, who hosted the program, assured that there is going to be a continuous engagement between customs and the freight forwarders over the policy.
According to him, a help desk would also be created to treat all complaints emanating from the use of the e-VIN Valuation platform.
He enjoined the stakeholders to take full advantage of the automated system which he said would make goods clearance procedure seamless and faster.
While welcoming the stakeholders earlier to the sensitisation meeting, Comptroller Yusuf urged them to be compliant with the extant guidelines to enable them to enjoy the benefits of the new system.
He assured them that help desks would be created in each of the commands to help resolve the teething problems that are bound to crop up, adding that there would be continuous engagement and improvement on the new valuation policy.
He told the stakeholders that the e-VIN valuation policy is irreversible and will be deployed on Friday, May 20, 2022.
Comptroller Anthony Udenze of the Tariff and Trade Department at Customs headquarters, urged vehicle importers and their agents to avoid acts that would delay the process of clearing.
He explained that the process of identifying salvage and accident vehicles under the e-VIN regime would be very transparent as the declarant would be expected to attach photos showing the accident-involved vehicles.
He further explained that for vehicles to be treated as accident-involved, the chassis must be affected by the accident not just by removing fenders, bumpers and headlamps.
In their various reactions, freight forwarders who attended the sensitisation expressed divergent views. While some of them expressed their support and acceptance of the platform, some of them kicked against the value attached to the system.
Speaking, Mr Francis Aniezechukwu of Association of Nigeria Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA) at PTML chapter, frowned at the short notice given to the freight forwarders before customs is commencing implementation. He called for more time for freight forwarders to digest the new changes on the e-VIN Valuation before it is fully deployed.
Another speaker, Mr Anthony Okolie, of the National Council of Managing Director of Licenced Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) at PTML Chapter, argued that the value imputed into the system is not in comformity with the General Agreement on Trade and Tariff.