APFFLON KNOCKS MINISTRY OF FINANCE OVER INCREASE IN TARIFF FOR IMPORTED VEHICLES
* Salutes Muslim Faithfuls as they celebrate EID EL FITRI
By Mcanthony Onuoha
Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria- APFFLON, has blamed the Federal Ministry of Finance for the sharp increase in Tariff for imported vehicles which was triggered by the newly introduced 15% National Automotive Council levy saying it should have been applicable to new vehicles only.
A recent letter by the Federal Ministry of Finance with reference number HMFBNP/NCS/CET/4/2022 captioned “Re: APPROVAL FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ECOWAS COMMON EXTERNAL TARIFF (CET) 2022-2026” and addressed to the Comptroller General of Customs, directed the NCS to collect 20% NAC levy for new
vehicles while imported used vehicles should pay 15% levy. This new Auto policy is yet to be accepted by importers and their agents as it resulted in sharp increase in duty value of vehicles.
Briefing Newsmen at the Association’s Secretariat on Friday the 29th of April, 2022, the National President of Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria-APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, said that people unknowingly keep blaming Customs on some fiscal and Auto policies that are rather churned out by the Ministry of Finance, saying that the blames should be channeled to the ministry instead.
In a recent press release by APFFLON which was made available to the media, the Association criticized the Federal Ministry of Finance on incessant increments that is already resulting in high inflation and its failure to always carry stakeholders along by seeking their inputs before implementing some of its fiscal policies, saying that in a democracy no decision is sacrosanct, adding that policies are subject to review except in an autocratic setting.
Subsequently, a press release signed by the National Public Relations Officer of Customs, DC Timi Bomodi, stated that the nation had adopted all tariff lines with few adjustments in the extant CET as allowed for in Annex 11 of the 2022-2026 CET edition and in line with the Finance Act and the National Automotive policy, that NCS had retained a duty rate of 20% for used vehicles as was transmitted by ECOWAS with a NAC levy of 15% as new vehicles would pay a duty of 20% as directed in Ministry of Finance letter ref. HMF BNP/NCS/CET/4/2022 of 7th April 2022.
Meanwhile, the newly introduced 15% NAC levy has continued to generate a lot of controversies as it has also slowed down clearing of vehicles from the ports.
Before now, duty value of a vehicle could easily be determined by its model but presently, due to the NAC levy slammed on imported vehicles, Valuation Officers now demand that written applications for value must be submitted first for them to decide on duty value to be given for any vehicle, this has become a bottleneck as Freight forwarders can no longer negotiate with their importers on how much it would take them to clear a vehicle without first of all approaching the Valuation unit for tariff allocation based on either compromise or personal discretion as tariffs on vehicles are not unified as it stands.
The APFFLON National President said it was true that the Management of the Nigeria Customs a couple days ago invited stakeholders to its headquarters in Abuja for a town hall meeting to discuss issues bordering on the new Automotive Policy but pointed out that why the dust raised by 15% NAC levy was yet to settle is because it was imposed on Importers without recourse to the harsh economic situation bedeviling private businesses.
However, Ogunojemite during the press briefing, accused the Federal Ministry of Finance of never acknowledging its wrong fiscal policies while directly indicting the customs and other agencies.
APFFLON recalled that sometime last year, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, at the Grand finale of the sensitization seminar on Vehicle Registration (VREG) in Abuja, alleged that 40% of vehicles that made their ways into Nigeria were stolen vehicles.
The Minister also said that aside that, 45per cent of vehicles that entered the country annually were smuggled vehicles which duties were evaded.
Those statements according to APFFLON National President were very big indictments on the Nigeria Customs Service and other security agencies both in the ports and at Border Stations but expressed optimism that the new Auto policy (VIN) if not compromised would plug most of the loopholes.
Meanwhile, the National President of APFFLON has sent greetings to Muslim Faithfuls as they celebrate this year’s EID El FITRI. In his congratulatory message he urged them to always show love to everyone regardless of tribe or religion as exemplified by the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammed, he emphasised that love was the best gift any man could give to a fellow man.