Firm petitions Finance Ministry over Customs’ arbitrary increase on duty

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As the outcry over indiscriminate increase of import duty by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, continues, Managing Director Zekwes Ventures Limited, Charles Nzekwe, has petitioned the Federal Ministry of Finance, the supervising ministry of the NCS.

In the petition dated May 21st, 2014, the firm said that the Service had indiscriminately jacked up the duty on a specific consignment which they have been importing over the years.

The petition with the title “Wrong uplifting of FOB/Freight value of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) contrary to previous transaction in contravention of the Customs and Excise Management (Amendment) Act, 2003,” drew the attention of the federal government to the unusual increase of the Free on Board (FOB)/ Freight value contrary to previous transaction, which has undergone test value.

According to Nzekwe, “The same consignment was wrongly assessed by Cotecna and reassessed with the proper FOB value of $20,880.00. … The uplifting of #13,920 as additional is in contradiction of the provision of paragraph 1 & 2 of the Customs and Excise Management (Amendment) Act20 of 2003, which states that Customs value can only be determined on transaction value of identifical goods already accepted by Customs.

The transaction value that falls under paragraph 2 that is accepted is the previous Risk Assessment Report (RAR) issued by Cotecna which is the legal transaction over the years of import that has been subjected to test value in line with the schedule.

The uplifting of additional $13,920.00 is not in compliance with the provision as contained in the law and the treatment of valuation of goods globally, the practice stands as imposition of value, which negates legal provision and international best practice.”

A source at the ministry confirmed the receipt of the petition and noted that it has been sent to Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC recently appointed as port economic regulator to look at the petition.

A clearing agent who spoke with Vanguard on the issue said that it is a waste of time because the Council does not have the powers of enforcement, especially when it has to do with a sister government agency.

The agent called on the Shippers’ Council to work hard in ensuring that the abnormalities facing the sector are addressed if there must be meaningful development.

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