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Though the new Customs Area Controller (CAC) of Tincan Island Port command, Mr. Musa Baba Abdulahi has hinted that his leadership will usher in harmonized database for vehicle import, stakeholders and mainly key car importers in Nigeria have described the current situation where car valuation amongst Customs commands is not uniform as sad and against the ease of doing business.
Some of the clearing agents, who barred their minds on the dichotomy in imported car valuation, said the scenario remains one of the key factors encouraging Nigerian car importers to divert their imports to neighbouring countries’ ports with the aim of smuggling same into the country.
Clearing agents had on several occasions complained about lack of database of customs value thereby making the various customs commands issue different values on imported vehicles. They had called on customs to develop its database to enable them have a fore knowledge of what they are expected to pay as import duty on a particular vehicle. According to Baba, with the NICIS 11 programme deployment, the valuation database will be automated. “It will be automated in such a way that the VIN number, gives you all the necessary descriptions of the vehicle. It gives you the capacity of the vehicle, country of origin of the vehicle, type, brand and then it gives you the value. Meetings are going on to harmonise this position before deployment of NICIS I
However, the Controller, Tin Can Island Port Command, Comptroller Muhammed, was quick to reveal during his maiden media parley in Lagos, on Wednesday that “With the deployment of the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS 11) platform, the database of all imported vehicles will now be automated, thus making it possible for the various customs formations to have a uniform value on all imported vehicles”.
However, shipping stakeholders are still worried on why the Customs headquarters and the Comptroller General in particular is not addressing the car valuation dichotomy amongst Customs Command, saying the remarks made by the new Tincan Island Port controller cannot be taken as the official position of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).