• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Clearing agents’ protest to continue as meeting with Customs turns deadlock

Tin-Can Port makes history, receives largest container vessel to visit Lagos

After a stakeholders’ meeting with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Lagos on Tuesday, intended to find a solution to the over one week old strike and protest by registered freight forwarding associations, the latter have vowed to continue the protest.

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, promised that Customs is going back to the drawing board to modify all 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 action at the ports will continue until 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 are 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 a 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).