By Aisha Cole
Nigerian freight forwarders on Wednesday called for an outright cancellation of the 35 per cent levy imposed on new vehicles imported into the country.
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) made the call in a statement signed by its Vice President, Dr Kayode Farinto.
ANCLA urged the Federal Government to review its automotive policy which had made Nigerian ports unattractive to importers and encouraged smuggling of vehicles through the country’s land borders.
According to the freight forwarders, Nigeria lost over N360 billion revenue to its neighbours through smuggling of vehicles into the country in the last six years.
The Customs Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali recently called for a reduction of levy on imported new vehicles from 35 per cent to 10 per cent.
The association said that government had succeeded in enriching the neighbouring countries at the expense of Nigeria’s economy.
“The auto policy is inherited from previous administration and the auto policy is to the advantage of few Nigerians and some feudals in the society.
“Although the policy is a lofty idea for a long term implementation, but it has been hijacked by some cabals in the country thereby exploiting and milking Nigerians.
“We can also count or estimate the number of Nigeria Customs officers’ lives that have been lost in combating the smuggling of vehicles at our borders.
”Vehicles continue to enter our porous borders through unapproved routes, unhindered, on a daily basis in spite of the efforts of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other security agencies to curb this smuggling.
“All efforts by the Customs to implement the policy is jeopardised and that is why the Comptroller-General of Customs, Retired Col. Hameed Ali, pleaded with the federal government to have 25 per cent reduction on the levy payable on new vehicles,” Farinto said.
Farinto appealed to the FG to cancel the N35 per cent levy payable on new vehicles.
He suggested that government should introduce a policy whereby the newer the vehicle the lesser the rate of duty payable as practised in Ghana.
He said that there was the need for government to create an enabling environment through the Local Content Act where Nigerian-made radiator could be produced and compete with any radiator produced in the world.
ANLCA said that government should do an audit of all beneficiaries of the auto policy in the last four years. (NAN)