• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Clearing agents’ meeting with Customs deadlock

Clearing agents’ meeting with Customs deadlock

A stakeholders’ meeting with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Lagos on Tuesday, intended to find a solution to the one-week-old strike and protest by registered freight forwarding associations, was a deadlock.

The clearing agents have been protesting against the newly introduced Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) by Customs, an automated valuation system for clearing imported vehicles, accused of giving outrageous values to used vehicles.

Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Modupe Aremu, assistant comptroller-general of Customs, Zone A, said the Customs was going back to the drawing board to modify the process to arrive at a conclusive arrangement for the VIN in line with all the complaints that the agents raised at the meeting.

According to Aremu, the modification will take care of the complaints of the clearing agents as regards VIN.

“VIN valuation process has come to stay, it cannot be suspended. The agents were actually trained ahead of the implementation of the VIN valuation that was why we were not expecting this kind of response from them when we started implementation. Hopefully, very soon we will get back to them on the outcome of the modification,” she said.

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Also speaking, Segun Musa, the deputy president of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), said that the strike at the ports will continue until the Customs gets back to clearing agents with the modifications.

“Customs said that Wednesday is their management meeting and that they will have feedback for us by Friday. So, till then, we will continue the strike. If after Friday, their feedback does not meet our expectations, then, we will continue the strike even after Friday,” Musa said.

Taiye Oyeniyi, another clearing agent, said that all freight forwarders were not against VIN valuation but against the method of valuation that does consider yearly depreciation value of vehicles.

According to him, clearing agents are pleading with Customs to go back to the management, and give them 90 days period to clear the backlog of trapped vehicles.

Recall that clearing of imported vehicles from the roll-on roll-off terminals at the Tin-Can Island Port has since last week Monday been put on hold as all registered freight forwarding associations operating at the Lagos Port withdrew their services over the issues associated with the newly introduced Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Valuation System by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).