The International Freight Forwarders Association (IFFA) has applauded the move by the Nigeria Customs Service to ensure uniformity on duties payable on vehicles of the same model and year coming into the country.
The Task Force Chairman, Tin Can chapter of the association, Dr. Abiodun Frank, who disclosed this in a chat with Shipping Position Daily last week also maintained that the move will give the country the opportunity to operate within the standard of the World Trade Organization (WTO), adding that it will be a loss to the nation if we fail to key into the initiative.
He also emphasized the need for individuals to pay their taxes, stressing that it is what the government normally uses for the development of a nation.
He also warned that the interest of the government should be first among individual and personal interests.
“It is a very good development lets be sincere to ourselves, the nation is above individual interest, we travel all over the places and we know what is happening there. There is no nation than can grow without tax and it is through this tax that we can generate money to build the nation. The government is trying to come to the standard of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and it is a global thing. For Nigeria to say we are not going to practice it, we will be losing”.
He blamed clearing agents for working with some unscrupulous custom officers to get importers richer, even at the detriment of the government.
“If you bring in your car, you should be able to pay the duty because before buying the car you should know what is involved. We agents have been helping importers; we have made them rich at our detriment and that of the nation by subverting the interest of the nation with the help of some customs officers. But now the government is trying to put some certain principal in place which all of us should welcome. If we generate the money if they don’t use it well, it is there problem, but let us generate the money to build the nation”
He maintained that the introduction of uniformity on duties of vehicles will bring transparency among freight forwarders even as he added that it is what is obtainable in so many other neighbouring countries.
“Now what we are trying to say is this if there is uniformity of duty, I have worked in some neighbouring countries; you can go to any agent in any of these neighbouring countries. If you have your bill of lading and the vehicle is 2010 model, the same amount is what they are going to give you in all the ports there. Not that one agent will tell you that I will do it less than; everybody knows that you are going to pay the same duty. That is what the government is trying to say, let the importer pay our practicing fee, pay your duty and move your car, there will be no embarrassment from any custom officer on the road”
He maintained that the move will save a lot of lives and also put to an end the constant harassing of vehicles owners by the customs.
Abidoun, said that the idea will put an end to the issue of manipulating of duty payable on vehicles as it will serve like a PAAR where everything that you are supposed to pay is already computerized, adding that the issue of short paying the government will be a thing of the past with this new arrangement.
“You see customs on the road harassing vehicles even registered ones, all these will stop when they pay their normal duty and it is my advice to the nation, importer and everybody. Once you captured the vehicle, the duty you are going to pay is there already, there is no need manipulation it will be computerized in the system like PAAR. You know when you have your PAAR the duty you are going to pay is already there in the system, so you can’t manipulate it; that is that system they are trying to introduce on all these vehicles. Once they give you a value it is computerized, you go and pay it; you can’t short pay.