VIN Valuation: APFFLON applauds NCS over suspension of policy for one month


The African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has applauded the management of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) over its decision to suspend the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Valuation policy and subsequently approving one month grace period for importers and their agents to clear the backlog of vehicles at the ports.

The President of the association, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite who gave the applause in a chat with newsmen in Lagos on Monday said that although the decision was delayed, it still served the purpose.

His words, “We want to use this medium to thank the management of the customs for their delayed intervention because I think they could have intervened more promptly than they did. But all the same, the voice of the people was heard and I think this will be the beginning of the positive impacts in the industry from the side of the Nigeria Customs Service. So, we give kudos to them for that.”

While appreciating the Service for the one month window approved to clear the backlog of vehicles trapped as a result of the strike action embarked upon by the freight forwarders, he, however, wondered what would become of the rent so far accumulated during the period.

According to him, “Now that customs has decided to give one month grace, what will happen to the rents on those vehicles? A lot of rent must have been accumulated for the importers since the industrial action by the freight forwarders due to the improper application of the VIN Valuation.

“In those days, before the port concession, when something like this happen, the Nigeria Customs Service usually write to the NPA and they have to reason together so that this demurrage will be waived. Now that our ports have been concessions, is there any clause in the concession agreement that contemplated something like this?

“I remember during the time of Covid-19 lockdown when directive was given to the shipping and terminal operators to waive the rents but it became a fight for the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to get some of these waivers for the people who were persistent at that time. This issue will not facilitate trade and we look at it as one of the impediments to the Ease of Doing Business because a lot of importers were not engaged. Of course, there was consultations between the customs and the freight forwarders which excluded the importers and motor dealers at that time.

“So, in this case, we thank them because they were able to reverse themselves and listened to us and give one month window but they should as well address the issue of rent with shipping and terminal operators. That will make us happier and appreciate what they have done so far.

“If we have a reliable CRFFN management or the Governing Board at hand, I believe that there could have been prompt intervention on these issues that happened and I tell you something, the VIN Valuation issue has cost a lot of money.”

He, therefore, called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who is the landlord to the shipping and terminal operators as well as the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) which the Port Economic Regulator to intervene at this point to ensure that the importers and their agents were not unduly punished for no fault of theirs and for demanding for a fair business terms.

Photo: Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, President, APFFLON.

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