Customs agents in the country have called on the federal government to put an end to the arbitrary imposition of valuation on imported goods by the Nigeria Customs service (NCS), which they said contravenes the Customs Excise Act.
President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), the umbrella body to customs agents in the country, Lucky Amiwero, stated this in a petition addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari
According to him, “We hereby bring to the attention of the federal government of the breach by the NCS on the arbitrary imposition and the uplifting of valuation of imported goods in contravention of the Customs and excise management (amendment) Act 20 of 2003.
“We appeal to the federal government to institute a committee to address the imposition and uplifting of value that contravenes the Act and creates bottleneck in the port system, in the quest for revenue drive, which is to address the shortfall that is affecting the trading concerned.”
The proposal of the Act, the agents added, was initiated to meet up with international trading partner agreements as a member of Freight Advisory Committee (FAC), which was domesticated under Customs and Excise Management (amendment) Act 20 of 2003, based on price actually paid or payable for imported goods that complies with commercial realities in line with the provision of the Act .
He added: “The Act clearly states, in paragraph 2-(1): ‘If the Customs value of any goods imported into Nigeria cannot be determine under the provisions of paragraph 1 of this schedule, the Customs value of imported goods shall be transaction value of identical goods already accepted under paragraph 1 of this Schedule sold for export to Nigeria and exported at or about the same time, at the same commercial level and substantially the same quantity, as the goods being valued, adjustment having been made under paragraph 10(1 and (2) of this Schedule to take account of significant in cost and charges between the imported goods and the identical goods arising from difference in distance and mode of transport.”
He added: “The provision of paragraph 8-(1) specifically states: The valuation methods enumerated in paragraph 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 of this schedule shall be followed sequentially, so whoever that buyer of the goods being valued shall have the right.
“On a request in writing to the board made within three days of the valuation, to demand that the sequential order as enumeration in paragraphs 4 and 5 of this Schedule be changed, stating in the request the reason for the demand under the sequential order the importer has the right to switch 4 and 5 valuation method be used in line with the provision of the Act and not the Nigeria Customs Service,” Amiwero said.
The burden of proof, he added, was shifted to the importer, which is aimed at verifying that the element of valuation declared presented to customs is complete and correct.
“By the provision of paragraph 12, shift the onus of proof on the importer to provide information, evidence, explanation and can switch paragraph 4 and 5 of deductive method or computed method of valuation and not the right of Nigeria Customs Service but that of the importers by the provision of the Act. The Nigeria Customs Service has no right to uplift or impose value after the establishing the TEST value, which has been accepted in line with paragraph 1, 2,3,4,5 and 6 of the Act,” he explained.
He stressed that the present trend on uplifting and imposing value by Nigeria Customs on Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) and other valuation treatment contravenes the Customs and Excise Management Act 20 of 2003, “that clearly out lines legal procedures to be followed, which conferred right to the Importer and shift the burden of proof on the importer and not the Nigeria Customs Service.”