The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has written the Comptroller-General Of Customs, seeking clarifications on the application of Vehicle Import Valuation based on customs extant laws.
In a letter sent to the Customs CG, dated August 13th and entitled: REVISITING VEHICLE IMPORT VALUATION APPLICATION: REQUEST FOR CLARIFICATIONS BASED ON EXTANT CUSTOMS LAWS, of which a copy was obtained by PLATFORM REPORTERS, NAGAFF stated that freight forwarders are confused and constrained as to what laws are subsistence and most applicable to vehicle imports valuation determination and treatment within the Customs ports,; hence, the need for clarification.
The NAGAFF letter which was signed by Dr Eugene Nweke, Former President and current Head of Research and Technical Unit of NAGAFF read as follows in part: It is noted that vehicle importation for specific administrative practices is not meted with same treatment to general goods as obtained under the VALUE OF IMPORTED GOODS (CEMA CAP45, Section 45 2003 No.20 of First Schedule).
The above reference section or schedule under Cap 45 is the domesticated version of the section 20 of the Agreed Customs Valuation (ACV – 20) which is enshrined in the World Trade Organization General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT 94). The ACV clearly states the applicable methods, procedures and parameters for considerations in determining value of imported goods (which is a general application).
As professional freight forwarding associations, we have our grouse about the local application of this section in relation to valuation principles and treatments.
May we posit here sir, that unfolding events within the Customs ports, especially as it relates to challenges occasioned by high-handedness and frivolousness associated with vehicles valuation and clearance have prompted us to seek your intervention by way of proffering an official clarification and applicable interplay of the extant Customs and Excise Notice No.30 of December 6, 1991, which on page 173 specifically provides guidelines on the importation of used vehicles (tokunbo).
The Notice stipulates that the basic price for all vehicles shall be the ex-factory price of the vehicle, excluding freight costs, pre-shipment, insurance charge, local duties and taxes or fees paid in the country of origin, expenses incurred for the purpose of obtaining for the local duties and levies as well as costs of registration overseas.
The Notice also provides for age rebate on used vehicles, ranging from 10% to 50% of the basic price on condition that the importer can produce evidence that the imported vehicle had been licensed and had been put to use abroad.
The CGC sir, what we witness as everyday practices is contradictory to these applications as provided under the Notice. Rather vehicle imports valuation is treated with utmost secrecy by vehicle seat officers who prefer to issue unimaginable computed ex-factory price with a deliberate intent to create room for negotiations with the Customs agents. This avoidable situation thrives because the rules are not transparently defined, thereby prompting acts of arbitrariness, revenue leakages and anti-trade facilitation.
The reality is that we operate in a regime presumably characterized by unascertainable compromised dutiable values different from the approved value, making it difficult to produce an authentic data base and statistics on vehicle imports and corresponding duties and taxes for prompt planning and development objectives of the government.
The general question on the lips of forwarders is: Why is it that the compromised values issued as the applicable ex-factory price are above the original second-hand or auctioned purchase price of the vehicles at the port of origin?.
The most unfriendly aspect is the non-application of the age rebate as contained in the above Notice. 30. To us, vehicle imports and clearance should not be a protracted issue to attract the prevailing high-handedness.
The CGC, we make bold to state that majority of professional forwarders are careful about their actions or inactions on matters relating to trade transactions. The valuation (vehicle seat) officers are expected to show patriotism, being government officials under oath to uphold and defend the interest of the government.
Sir, we need your utmost response to the above issues. Your response, definitely, will add impetus to the professional services and survival of the system.