By Innocent Orok
Top members of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) led by the Western Zone Coordinator, Alhaji Femi Anifowoshe today submitted a letter to the Western Port Police Commissioner intimating him of their intention to embark on nation-wide protest in the ports in solidarity of their members who at the Tin Can Island Port have been on strike over the VIN valuation policy in the last two weeks.
According to the letter signed by Femi Anifowoshe, the Western Zone Coordinator of ANLCA and was titled ” Notice of peaceful protest in Nigerian ports, Re: Baseless increase of value of goods irrespective of contents per Container introduce by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)”.
The letter reads in part “we are compel to notify your good office of the recent development of unethical practice introduce to trade by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) who has refused to give rooms for any engagement of critical stakeholders , inclusive of the Companies Licensed by Customs to Operate in Nigeria ports. In line with the International Conventions which Nigeria is signatory as regards methods to arrived at appropriate value of Imported goods for the purpose of levying Customs Duties and taxes.
” All Customs administration whose Country is a member of World Trade Organization (WTO) has agreed to WTO agreement on Customs Valuation (ACV) which was adopted in 1994, Nigeria is a signatory member.
” The convention and agreement stipulates that all value be based on Customs value of the imported goods, which meant the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the country of Importation, plus certain adjustment of costs and changes.”
The letter further stated that if there is any argument about Transaction value ( selling price), then the transaction value of identical goods will be considered or the transaction value of similar goods , through either deductive value method, computed method or final fallback method.
The group accused the NCS of violating these principles and therefore apply values by themselves on Nigerian Importers.
Again they said” presently, the price paid by Importers is not considered , rather Nigeria Customs has generally applied, N6m value on any goods in 1x40ft Container, and N3m value on any goods in 1x20ft Container irrespective of the content.
” Consequently, the association has decided on the peaceful warning protest to sensitize the government and public of the wickedness of the Nigeria Customs on Nigerians, who are suffering high cost of goods and materials already in the market”.
Responding to the letter, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations at the Western Port Authority Police Command , DCP Adeleke Taiwo who stood in for the Port Police Commissioner pleads with the ANLCA chieftains to be calm that the Police as a responsible Security agency will look into the matter. He thank them for the right step they have taken and promised that immediately the CP comes in he will address the issue.
Adeleke said “this matter is not limited to you alone, the way I see it , in fact the whole system is affected including the final consumer and that is why we will treat this matter seriously.”
Also speaking, Akintoye Ojo , Tin Can Island Chapter Chairman of ANLCA, pleaded with the police to address the matter urgently as their members are already accusing them of compromise in the sense that some ports and terminals are working while some have been on strike for two weeks now and to show solidarity, all Nigerian ports should be shut down as injury to one is injury to all.
Protest has sparked off in the Western Port of Lagos , especially at Tin Can Island and PTML on 18th of Febuary 2022 over the introduction of the Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) policy by the NCS. Freight forwarders have described the new policy as outrageous, fraudulent and non predictability vowing to continue the strike untill Customs revert the policy. The strike has entered the third week with no compromise reach yet.