NWEKE BERATES LAGOS STATE GOVT OVER NEW LEVY ON IMPORTED VEHICLES
By Mcanthony Onuoha
Former President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders- NAGAFF, Chief Dr. Eugene Nweke, KSM, has criticised the Lagos State Government for slamming fresh N4,600 levy on imported vehicles coming out of Lagos ports.
The Lagos State Government, via one of its Agencies under the Ministry of Transportation; Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA), came up with a new revenue drive known as Temporary Vehicle Tag (TVT). According to a reliable source, the new levy is already creating tension within the business environment even as it has been reported that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has already included TVT payment in Terminal Delivery Order (TDO) and has instructed Terminal Operators not to release any vehicle without proof of payment.
According to the source, after the payment of N4,600, the clearing agent parts with a sticker to be placed on the vehicle which permits the owner to freely drive it within Lagos for a period of 31 days .
Reacting to the development, Dr. Nweke said that it would be unfair to criticize tax demand where necessary so long as it is not to the detriment of international trade supply chain or abuses international trade protocols.
In his words, ” l will be ashamed of the Nigerian Shipper’s Council (NSC) if it allows this exploitation and if the system abuse is not halted immediately”.
” The NSC has a duty to ensure that all charges on imports have a cost function addition as it must bear in mind that the concept of Port value addition supply chain entails that all import charges add up to value obligation”.
” Equally, I believe that the NSC knows and understands the import of international trade protocols and convention, especially in regards to the WTO preamble on Trade liberalization which Nigeria is signatory to.”
Furthermore, Nweke pointed out that, ” the duo of NSC and NPA have an administrative task to ensuring that the interchange points are not unduly sabotaged due to arbitrariness or excessive taxation which has the capability of causing subtle impediment to seamless clearance of cargo out the ports.”
According to our source, when contacted for his reaction to the controversy trailing the development, Chairman of Lagos State Wharf Landing Collection Agency, Chief Gboyega Salvador Adebayo explained that the TVT collection was different from Wharf Landing Fees. According to him, ” the TVT is strictly for security purposes especially in the face of importation of arms and ammunition and people using vehicles without numbers to commit crimes”.
Adebayo further stated that the money was being collected by Motor Vehicle Agency to avoid division in the Port environment and harbour areas adding that the government decided not to have two agencies running after the same people for levies. According to him, “vehicles are imported into this country without any number to identify them when they leave the Port premises, they could be used for criminal activities or even have accident killing people, how do you identify the vehicle that did that?”
Meanwhile, Chief Nweke in his reaction dismissed Chief Salvador’s explanation
with a wave of hand describing it as hollow and unjustifiable, he condemned what he termed sheer arbitrariness saying that Adebayo’s defense casts operational integrity question on the Customs Officers of non application of due diligence in cargo inspection and documentation.
Nweke knocked terminal Operators and shipping lines for making themselves readily available when it comes to extorting freight forwarder and their importers.
According to Chief Nweke, “the easiness with which terminal operators and shipping lines offer selves as conduits for drawing charges alien to the Port Industry is becoming alarming and should be revisited. It is therefore necessary to offer professional counsel to Mr. Salvador to please go ahead and integrate the TVT charges as payable at Import Vehicle Registration Points. He should please join hands in promoting sanity and seamlessness within the Port corridor and avoid emasculation of trade within the port environment. ”
Chief Nweke called upon the leaderships of Freight Forwarding Associations to brace up to their professional advocacy objective by reactivating their respective trade negotiation tools and redirecting them positively.