By Kenneth Jukpor
Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has lamented controversies over what it described as inability of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to maintain a firm stance on auto policy.
The group made this call in a statement signed by its National President, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, today.
Part of the statement read: “APFFLON is strongly against the collection of NAC levy on used vehicles. It should be limited to brand new vehicles only and we demand to know why used vehicles should pay NAC levy, and how the money will be appropriated. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala during her time removed NAC levy which was 2% then, why the sudden imposition of 15% and 20% NAC levy on Nigerians?
“We are of the opinion that Customs engage stakeholders to clarify the new price which did not consider Essential Service vehicles like Ambulances, Commercial buses and firefighters. Why are they always coming out with policies without sensitization and Stakeholders’ inputs, why are they less concerned about carrying stakeholders along. As far as it is monetary issue there decisions are not sacrosanct , they should bear in mind that policies are subject to review unless they want to tell us that we are not practicing democracy.”
The group demanded a unified tariff on vehicles but not astronomical rise in duty that will reduce the purchasing power of the citizens and accelerate inflation in the country.
“We expect circulars on major changes by Customs Management and not only press releases on social media platforms to avoid industrial actions which shipping companies and terminal operators leverage on to demand additional charges. Nigerian importers lost over N300billion in demurrage in the last protest caused by increased target given to the NCS by the Federal Government. It is high time Customs commenced constant interface with critical stakeholders on revenue policies to forestall crises in Nigerian ports.”
“APFFLON is using this opportunity to appeal to all Freight Forwarders not to embark on yet another round of protest but peacefully demand for explanation on the NAC levy slammed on used vehicles. The Federal Government and policy makers should realize that Nigerians are struggling to survive in the present harsh economic situation,” the APFFLON President said.
Meanwhile, he urged the Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Ministry of Finance to always handle issues like this with utmost care to avoid unnecessary crises.
Recall that in a recent press release by the National Public Relations Officer of Customs, DC Timi Bomodi, the organization notified the general public of its migration from the old version of the Economic of West African States (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (2017-2021) to the new version (2022-2026) with effect from Friday April 1, 2022 in line with the World Customs Organization (WCO) five years of the nomenclature.
According to Bomodi, “As allowed in Annex 11 of the 2022-2026 Common External Tariff (CET) edition and in line with the Finance Act and the National Automotive Policy, NCS has retained a duty rate of 20% with a NAC levy of 15% . New vehicles will also pay a duty of 35% with a NAC levy of 20% as directed in the Federal Ministry of Finance letter ref.No.HMF BNP/NCS/CET/4/2022 of 7th April 2022”.
APFFLON also lampooned Customs spokesperson for promising a town hall meeting to harmonize issues bordering on auto policy two weeks ago but the meeting didn’t hold until the news of the controversial NAC levy.