The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Tuesday urged Nigerians to embrace the Vehicle Identity Number (VIN) Valuation to ensure transparency
NCS Public Relations Officer, Deputy Comptroller, Timi Bomodi gave the advice in a statement in Abuja.
Bomodi said that VIN-Valuation was an innovation designed to harmonise and make the system transparent, urging agents and importers to embrace it.
According to him, the system uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to pull together trade data representing a range of values consistent for each car make and model using the VIN.
“It is totally devoid of human inputs by NCS officers and enables easy and fast assessments necessary to process duty payments.
“Indeed, time-motion studies confirm a maximum of six hours between automated assessments and release of cars using VIN-Valuation,’’ he said.
According to him, importers who have their valid Tax Identity Numbers can do self-assessment and pay duty by themselves.
He said that licensed customs agents should be honest in their declarations as it would go a long way in expediting the release of their goods out of customs control.
“Following the demands of agents for a simplified system which recognises standard values, NCS is confident that this innovation in clearing process will satisfy the desires of agents clamouring for change.
“The resistance to VIN-Valuation comes as a surprise seeing that it is deliberately designed to meet their demands. It also compels us to investigate further, the intentions of those protesting its use.
“When our valuation officers gave out ex-factory prices for duty assessment, they were accused of collecting monetary inducements to give lower values.
“It will be interesting to know what these same agents/importers will accuse the machines of discrimination based on non-digital considerations,” Bomodi said.
He said that most of the individuals protesting the introduction of VIN-Valuation do not care about automation, simplification, harmonisation or even transparency in the system.
Bomodi said that all they cared about were the personal benefits accruable from milking the system.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that clearing agents had on Monday crippled activities at the Lagos ports following protests at the Tin Can Island Port and PTML Terminal.
The protests were over the anomalies in the VIN valuation system policy introduced by the NCS for imported vehicles.
It began after the expiration of the 72-hour strike notice issued by all registered freight forwarding associations operating at the PTML Terminal and Tin Can Island port in Lagos.