VIN crisis: Importers threaten to shutdown Lagos markets
Importers under the aegis of Ndigboamaka Progressive (Market) Association have threatened to shutdown Lagos markets within two days over the implementation of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Valuation policy.
Dr Jude Okeke, president, Ndigboamaka issued the warning at a media conference in Lagos on Wednesday.
He said the group took the position because the implementation of VIN valuation policy introduced by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had profound effects on markets, trade and economy.
He noted that importers who were faced with many issues ranging from terminal and shipping line charges now had to bear the additional burden of the VIN valuation policy.
He said the extra costs associated with these policies negatively affected the businesses of his members, as they made goods expensive for consumers, the end users.
According to him, the threat to shutdown the markets is not to hurt any individual or government agencies, but to ensure things are done the right way.
“We are major importers of various commodities and trading under the name Ndigboamaka Progressive Association, an umbrella body of major market associations in Lagos.
“Examples of such markets are Alaba International Market, All Markets in Trade Fair Complex, Ladipo Market, Coker building Materials and others.
“This meeting is to show our distress on what government does as regards policies put out and their negative impact on our businesses.
“We are saying enough is enough and to make our voice heard, we will be collaborating with the Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS), to discuss how some of our vexatious government policies can be amicably resolved,” he said.
Okeke said it was unfortunate that policies were introduced without carrying stakeholders along.
He stated that after deliberation with members, the association decided that the VIN policy should be suspended indefinitely because it was introduced without the knowledge of importers.
“Members work with bank loans and this is not conducive, and so we will be working with SALS to manage a fund set up by government to cushion our financial pressure in the foreseeable future.
“The fund will be managed by key players in the maritime sector. No government agencies will interfere with it,” he said.
Rev. Jonathan Nicole, president, SALS, noted that the alliance with Ndigboamaka was to create an enabling environment for importers to be self sufficient and assist government in revenue generation.
“SALS have been fighting the battle for importers for the past eight years especially on cost, shipping and terminal charges and all of these problems will be resolved.
“This new one on VIN should be suspended indefinitely so that goods and vehicles stranded at port will be removed.
“This morning, I just received information concerning this VIN issue, the Port and Terminal Multiservices Ltd. saying that over 12,000 vehicles are trapped in their terminal and attracting demurrage and shipping line charges.
“By the time we quantify the amount importers will be loosing, the demurrage is going over N600 million naira. We cannot continue to accommodate such expenses anymore, so they need to discard the policy,” he said.
Nicole said the insinuation that second hand vehicles were a nuisance was wrong because when imported they are taken to authorised workshops to be certified and issued road worthiness license.
“This meeting is to tell the Nigerian government that we are not happy and this alliance will continue until government changes their policies and listens to us,” he said.