The Vice President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto has warned that the introduction of the use of logbook by the Nigeria Customs Service for the clearance of vehicles will engender corruption among the customs officers and preponderance of forged log books among freight forwarders.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had in a circular dated April 23, 2021, and signed by the Deputy Comptroller General (T&T) TM Isa, states that Log Book is now a mandatory requirement for the clearance of used vehicles. The circular gave a 90- day period after which the implementation and enforcement of the directive will commence.
Speaking in Lagos yesterday, Farinto said the logbook has since been outdated and may be difficult to get as most of the tokunbo vehicles which come into the country may not have this logbook because of the long years of use by different owners.
This, he claimed, will create an avenue for customs officers to extort as they will insist on the logbook. Farinto declared that freight forwarders will resort to forging the book in a desperate attempt to comply with the policy.
A visibly angry freight forwarder wondered why the customs High Command should take the country back to the dark age of logbook in this modern age of the use of VIN to determine the age, make, manufacture date, and everything one needs to know about a vehicle.
He sneered at the competence and level of exposure of the customs authority to introduce a 1971 law in 2021.
Farinto advised the customs authority to withdraw the circular, which he claimed will create untold confusion as 70 percent of vehicles may carry logbooks written in foreign languages.
The ANLCA Chieftain, therefore, called for the review of the Customs and Excise and Management Act (CEMA) given its outdated sections and in a bid to reflect the modern realities in customs operations.
“I know that the relevant sections of the law quoted by the DCG were enacted in 1971 and it says if you are going to clear any vehicle in seaport, you must have what is called a logbook.
“The relevance of having the logbook then was to ascertain the model of the vehicle and year of manufacture.
“However, over the years in Customs operations viz a viz; WCO procedure, a lot of things have been put in place to ascertain the manufacturer, the year of manufacture and the body of the vehicle, and that thing is called VIN or title of the vehicle.
“70 percent of the logbook are not even written in English because they actually emanate from vehicles that are coming from Europe.
“If you recollect, a few weeks back, I said Customs is encouraging corruption because we do not have a uniform tariff on imported vehicles. And that necessitated this circular on the logbook. I still want to say that Customs is not getting it right.
“One of the seven key principles of Customs harmonisation, which was given to them by the former Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko, is, if you are confused, consult your colleagues.
“Ordinarily, what this DCG who issued the circular on the logbook should have done was to consult his colleagues to look at what it is in line with the international best practice.
“If the WCO hears that Nigeria Customs Service is asking for logbook in this 21st century, it would become a laughing matter. We do not want Nigeria to be a laughing stock in the comity of nations.
“We advise Customs to look inward to withdraw the circular and advise itself so that there would be a better sense of direction.
“The issue of the logbook is an outdated thing, which is no more in practice around the world, 70 percent of the logbook are in a European language, which could be in German or Dutch language.
“Logbook actually emanated when Nigeria was doing importation through European countries. Now importation from Nigeria is beyond European nations. Nigeria now imports from China, America, and India.”