The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has commenced the full implementation of the Federal Government automotive policy, as part of its determination to encourage newly licensed automotive brands build assembly plants in the country.
The automotive policy, allows for an importer to pay 35 percent duty and 35 percent levy on imported vehicles and Customs has started the collection of 35 percent levy on imported new vehicles, which was originally scheduled to commence in January 2015 after the implementation of 35 percent duty was flagged-off in July this year.
Also, the implementation of the new vehicle tariff is part of the Federal Government’s new national automotive policy which aims to discourage importation of vehicles in favour of local assembly plants.
Sources said that the Customs’ management on Tuesday, September 16 directed the commands located at the Tin-Can Island port, which handles the nation’s roll-in and roll-out terminals, to commence the full implementation of the automotive policy.
This development was confirmed by Chris Osunkwo, public relation officer of Tin-Can Island port command, who said that the Federal Government deemed it fit to direct that the 35 percent levy be implemented strictly on only imported new vehicles.
This, he said, was geared towards encouraging the automakers to come and invest in Nigeria, thereby creating an enabling environment for their finished products not to face stiff competition with the imported new cars.
According to Osunkwo, the 35 percent levy does not apply to imported used vehicles usually referred to as ‘tokunbo’ cars, which, according to the Federal Government may commence in January 2015.
Steve Okonma, public relations officer of the PTML Customs command, who confirmed that the command has also begun the implementation, said that it only applies on brand new vehicles and not used vehicles.
Reacting to the development, the chapter chairman of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Bola Adeniran, said the agents were taken aback when they got to work to see that the 35 percent level had been inputed into the Customs system.
Adeniran said the implementation of the 35 percent levy was scheduled to take off in January 2015 but was hurriedly implemented by the Customs high command without consulting or informing them.
“Agents are not satisfied with the 35 percent levy that was hurriedly implemented because the government said it will start by January but it was a surprise when we all came to work this morning to see that the Customs has already started implementing it. We were not informed and we believe that stakeholders should be duly informed before the commencement of such,” he said.