May 31, 2023

Maritime Today Online

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Agents kick as Customs slams 15% NAC levy on imported vehicles

Customs boss faults N6trn subsidy claim, says over 38m litres of petrol diverted daily

Clearing agents operating at the Tin Can Island Port are up in arms against the Nigeria Customs Service over the introduction of a 15 percent National Automotive Council (NAC) levy on imported vehicles.

The new levy, according to the agents, was effected on the Customs system on Saturday 9th of April 2022 barely one week after the Service implemented a downward review of import duty on vehicles from 35 to 20 percent.

Some of the clearing agents who spoke with Maritime Today Online accused the Customs of attempting to return the 35 percent duty on imported vehicles through the back door as a means of generating revenue to meet its annual target.

The agents also criticised the NCS for not consulting with them on the new policy saying that since the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali came on board, the NCS has lost direction.

One of the licensed clearing agents, Onyeme Emmanuel, expressed surprise that after implementing a reduction on import duty on vehicles from 35 to 20 percent, the Customs went through the back door to introduce a 15 percent NAC levy in an attempt to retain the old duty rate of 35 percent.

He said, “We were so surprised over the introduction of the NAC levy on used vehicles and I don’t know what gave Customs the justification of bringing in the NAC levy. If we have 20 percent import duty and another 15 percent NAC levy, that means they are going back to 35 percent. Before now, the highest we have ever seen on NAC was 2 percent and the purpose of bringing NAC was for new vehicles to encourage local manufacturers. So, on what basis did Customs want to collect 15% on used vehicles?”

On whether there has been a formal notification from Customs on the new policy, Onyeme said, “Not with this present Customs management and the Ministry of Finance. I don’t know the last time they sent circulars on new developments. The way things are done in the Customs system I have never seen it. When seasonal officers were CGs of Customs, before anything was done, there would be a circular or a seminar to inform the stakeholders, even when they want to change the exchange rate in the system, they do inform us. But since Ali was appointed, we have never seen any circular. They do things as if Nigeria belongs to them alone. They don’t carry people along. Even the last system that made us protest, they did not inform anybody. On their own, they just went to the system and changed it and expect people to pay 15 percent NAC on used vehicles? Vehicles whose values have been depreciated.


“The 20 percent reduction on duty rate was an agreement between the ECOWAS community that from January, they are going to change their tariff to 20 percent. In a society where you have rule of law, checks and balances and where leaders see themselves as servants, what they do before they do anything is to send information, but since Ali came, things are done in Customs as if the Republic belong to them alone.”

Also speaking, an executive of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tin Can Island Port Chapter, Joy Onome said, “We saw the new payment on the Customs system on Saturday, 9th of April when we came to the office. NAC of 2 percent is now 15 percent. When you capture, the 15 percent NAC will come out automatically on all vehicles.

“Even when they change to 20 percent, they (Customs) were trying indirectly to change their FOB so that the price can jerk up and give them the 35 percent we were paying before but we rejected it and reluctantly, they left the 20 percent only for us to wake up to see additional 15 percent levy with no information.

“There is a wide communication gap between Customs and stakeholders and even the area commands. Even when they changed the duty from 35 to 20 percent, there was no statement from Customs.”

Meanwhile, the leadership of the association has urged its members not to pay the 15 percent NAC levy.

When contacted, Customs National Public Relations Officer, Timi Bomodi said he is not aware of the 15 percent NAC levy but promised to clarify Customs position on the new policy today (Monday).

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