• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Customs disagrees with CBN proposed policy on e-invoicing

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has faulted the use of benchmark valuation method as proposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) on the basis that it will result in disputes, delay in cargo clearing and uncertainties at ports.

According to a statement by Timi Bomodi, public relations officer of Customs, the policy will also negate the aim of the World Trade Orgainsation (WTO) Agreement on Customs Valuation (ACV).

He stated that the practice world over is to domicile adjudication on Customs values for import and export within the Customs administration of every country.

“The NCS is alive to its statutory functions and has a vibrant Valuation Unit under the Tariff and Trade Department whose roles include the proper interpretation of World Customs Organisation (WCO)/WTO rules and agreements concerning the valuation of goods,” Bomodi said.

He said Nigeria, which is a member of the WCO, WTO and also signatory to international trade treaties, including Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is constrained to abide by the principles contained in the CBN proposal.

“The Article VII stipulates that the value for Customs purposes of imported/exported goods should be based on the actual value paid or payable for them. This is commonly referred to as transaction value. This agreement also prescribes five other methods for arriving at Customs value where the transaction value is unacceptable.

“They are the transaction value of identical goods, the transaction value of similar goods, Deductive value method, Computed value method, and Fallback method, applied sequentially,” he explained.

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Bomodi however added that the NCS as a government agency aligns with the WTO Agreement on Customs Valuation, which aims for a fair, uniform and neutral system for the valuation of goods for Customs purposes.

“This conforms to commercial realities, and outlaws the use of assumed values for Customs purposes. The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) remains the Service’s principle guide for trade facilitation.”

“Therefore, NCS is always seeking new approaches to enable the expedited clearance of goods from our ports by adopting new technologies, harmonising and simplifying our procedures all of which is purposely designed to reduce cost,” he added.

Bomodi, who states that the directive of the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Customs and Excise, Banking and Currencies that all agencies with defined roles in the supply chain meet to harmonise procedures with particular reference to resolving the issue of value for trade purposes, said the meeting is yet to take place.

“We look forward to the robust deliberation that is expected to occur from this meeting as directed by the House. Until then, we shall continue to abide by the principles as contained in the ACV for all import/export transactions,” he said.

Recall that the CBN, in a letter dated 8 July 2021, informed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) that the apex bank would be deploying a mechanism for verification of prices of goods before allocation of forex at the point of e-form M registration. The policy, which involves the introduction of e-valuator and e-invoicing, seeks to benchmark the price of imported and exported cargo.