Vessels laden with cars must come with Vehicle Identification Number beginning from June 1st – Customs

The Nigeria Customs Service has said that beginning from June 1st 2015, all vessels coming into the country laden with cars must have their chassis and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdulahi disclosed this at a town hall meeting on the National Automotive Policy organized by Ships & Ports Communication Company in Apapa on Tuesday.

Represented by the Assistant Comptroller General, Tariff & Trade, Banke Adeyemo, Dikko said the decision was reached at a meeting with the Customs management and shipping companies at Customs headquarters in Abuja.

He said the move became necessary in order to ascertain the appropriate duty a particular vehicle is supposed to pay and to reduce cases of fraudulent declarations made by importers especially on vehicle year of manufacture.

He added that with the VIN number, it will be easier to have a functional database of vehicles in the country which is necessary for the success of the automotive policy.

“About few weeks ago, we invited shipping companies operating in Nigeria to the headquarters where we reached the decision that vessels coming in to Nigeria laden with cars from June 1st must carry the chassis number and Vehicle Identification Number.

“If a vessel is carrying a vehicle, the manifest should not call it vehicle or automobile – the real name of the vehicle should be called and when it gives the chassis number and VIN number, we would be able to trace the age of the car and the model which will to enable us to ascertain the proper duty it is supposed to pay whether it will attracts the 35 percent levy or not,” he said.

He said the Service is also partnering with the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) on the VIN number to enable the agency generate enough data for ease of registration.

“For proper identification in the database, we will interface with the FRSC to see who the owner of a car is. Has proper duty been paid? So, that will [make it harder for theft issues to crop up]like somebody stealing someone else’s car or changing plate numbers. Before the car is licensed, they will first of all see whether customs duty has been paid or not,” he said.

It would be recalled that the Director General, National Automotive Council, Aminu Jalal had during his consultation meetings with the Nigerian Shippers Council and the Nigerian Ports Authority disclosed plans by the council to build a portal that will house all the vehicle identification numbers of all vehicles imported into the country.

The VIN number will contain information on the vehicle and will be included in the bill of lading.

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to as the source.