Juy three days after the controversial Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy was relaunched, the management of the Nigeria Customs Service has complained that some freight forwarders are manipulating the VIN codes.
It could be recalled that there are two types of VIN: Standard VIN with code 000 and Non-standard VIN with code 846.
But in a circular dated May 24th, 2021 and signed by an Assistant Comptroller- General, Tariff and Trade and addressed to all the Area Controllers, the customs authority noted that freight forwarders are misapplying the 846 code for Non-Standard VIN in a manipulative manner.
“The System and have discovered that Declarants are making their declarations using additional Code 846 without the requisite approval from the Customs Area Controllers which is in contravention of the adopted Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the implementation of the VIN valuator,” the circular noted.
It further explained that the introduction of a special procedure with additional code 846 was aimed at aiding the clearance of vehicles without standard VINs as well as salvage and accidented vehicles.
The Service, therefore, said the declarant must seek the approval of the CAC under whose command such vehicles are to be cleared with relevant pictorial representation of such vehicles attached.
“Furthermore, the Declarant must seek the approval of the CAC under whose Command such vehicles are to be cleared while the relevant pictorial representation of such vehicles is to be attached and uploaded along with the Inspection Act to enable utilization of the procedure code.
”Consequently, I am directed to bring to your notice that the use of additional Code 846 must be authorized by the CAC while the OC Valuation should issue and account for the appropriate values for such vehicles while DCs Revenue/TS is to make the relevant Inspection Act including a scanned copy of such approvals available on the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS Il).
”All releasing officers are to ensure all SGDs with additional Code 846 have the relevant Inspection Act, the scanned copy of the CACs approval attached and the relevant pictorial representation of the vehicles are attached before release” the circular concluded.
The VIN valuation policy has been controversial since it was first introduced about two months. At that time, it was greeted with an uproar from the freight forwarders who said that policy placed unrealistic values on vehicles.
This made the Customs suspend the policy and promised to rework it to accommodate the observations of the angry Customs brokers.
The policy which was relaunched on Monday, significantly met the expectations of freight forwarders but its commencement has been bedeviled with some teething problems which the Customs is trying to address.