Customs bows to Senate, suspends vehicle duty policy


Following the widespread outcry and threat of a lawsuit by Nigerians and the Vehicle Owners Association of Nigeria (VOAN) to challenge the decision by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), the Nigeria Customs Service has suspended the implementation of its policy for duty payments on old vehicles.

National Daily gathered that the management of Customs had directed that the exercise be put on hold, and it’s ready to engage the Senate Committee on further discussions.

According to the Acting Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Mr Joseph Attah, the essence was to bring the Senate on board to understand the importance of the exercise to national security and economy.

“Following the tension generated as a result of misconception and misrepresentation of the NCS planned motor duty payment, the leadership of the National Assembly and the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) met with a view to resolving the impasse.

“They both agreed that the proposed motor duty payment, though in line with the provision of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap C.45, LFN 2004, should be put on hold”

National Daily reports that recently, the comptroller-general approved one month grace for all Nigerian vehicle owners who have not paid duties to do so or face outright seizure of the vehicles. And this applies even to new vehicles bought from car dealers.

The service gave a window of one month, from March 13 to April 12, for car owners to pay the appropriate duty on their vehicles.

The public relations officer said that some owners of vehicles brought into the country through the land borders, obviously, did not pay duty.

The policy has been condemned by the Senate, which passed a resolution asking the NCS to suspend it, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), civil society groups, and VOAN.
Despite the condemnation, NCS doubled-down on its directive by ordering car owners and dealers to comply, failing which their cars would be impounded. At best, it offered a 60 per cent rebate on cars bought before 2016.

Its refusal to suspend the policy, based on the Senate resolution, drew the wrath of the upper legislative chamber, which summoned the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) to appear in his uniform before the Senate today.


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