Following the suspension of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Valuation policy for one month by the Nigeria Customs Service to enable importers and their agents clear the backlog of vehicles at the seaports, the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam has congratulated the Service for taking the action in favour of trade and humanity.
Aniebonam in a statement in Lagos on Monday said that the action This underscored the continued efforts on the part of the Nigeria Customs Service to exercise restraint over the application of customs laws bothering on matters of untrue declaration.
He observed that the inherent problems of untrue declaration for customs purposes may not be adding value to customs modernisation even as he hoped that the service should endeavour to engage the trading public and the freight forwarding practitioners on matters of customs statutory functions .
“This is because customs laws are very strict over revenue related matters. The need for knowledge cannot be overemphasised because customs duty collection is highly technical. The communication gap between the customs administration and the stakeholders are avoidable” he said.
He opined that the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and the customs administration must come together to develop capacity of the freight forwarding practitioners arguing that anything to the contrary the instances of withdrawal of services in the customs ports may continue due to lack of knowledge or limited knowledge.
He maintained that the buck passing between the customs and the freight forwarders over non communication of VIN VALUATION application was most unfortunate saying, “I do hope that the Public Relations Department of the Nigeria Customs Service shall raise the bar to undertake its corporate responsibility. This is because communication is a tool for trade facilitation in customs operations.”
While congratulating the Service for taking a popular decision, Aniebonam believed that within the one month grace period provided, the VIN Valuation duty assessment shall be based on agreed Customs Value Assessment (ACV).
“I believe that most of the issues raised by the stakeholders would have been resolved amicably. Let me just remind the customs that under destination inspection or customs examination if you like, the most critical component of operations are the customs examiners and the valuation unit. Any other action being taken are mere trade facilitation responsibilities and general administration.
The CGC is once again reminded of his presidential mandate to restructure, reform and enhance revenue collection functions of the service. The prevalence of multiple trade alerts, the avoidable redundancy of officers at the zonal offices and the multiple intervention forces on our city and federal highways presents a picture of trade and commerce being under siege in Nigeria.
“It is my hope that the customs management shall raise the bar of excellent performance to power investment and development in Nigeria 2022”, he further said.
Photo: Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, founder of NAGAFF.
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