A cross section of some seized exotic vehicles at the Federal Operations Unit (FOU A) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)
The National Association of Air Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC) has called for a consolidated customs duty for vehicles imported into the country, even as it urged the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to come up with a fixed rate for vehicles depending on the year and model of the car.
The National President of NAFFAC, Mr. Adeyinka Bakare, who said this in a chat with Shipping Position Daily last week in Apapa, said for instance if you import a 2003 model of Toyota Camry, the amount you pay should be the same in all the ports in the country.
“On the issue of customs and licensed agents being punished too for allowing vehicles leave the ports without paying complete duty, I don’t agree with that; like we have been saying and it is one of those things that we are fighting for now is that customs should be able to tell us the rate. Like in Ghana there is a consolidated rate, where you have a particular amount you pay for duty”
“If your car is for instance 2003 and the duty for instance is say N200000, it is a flat rate, and it should be obtained in Apapa, PTML and other ports. But here in Nigeria it is not the same thing, you relay on the valuation officer, the mood he is at a particular time to give you a rate”, he lamented.
He however accused officers of the Customs service of giving different values for the same model of vehicles at different ports in the country.
“You see where they will tell you that if a car is coming through PTML you are paying this amount and if it is coming through Tin Can you will pay this amount the same Nigeria Customs giving you different values and rates for the same type of car”
Explaining further, he said, “So in as much as every one of us has a role to play, customs needs to come out and tell us this us the rate. You will see the valuation telling you that the value is low by the time you get to Customs Investigating Unit (CIU) they will tell you that their own value is different from what the valuation officers have given you”
Bakare urged the various units of the service to work in synergy in other to come up with a consolidated rate for imported vehicles.
“For God’s sake, we have Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) office and they will tell you the value the cargo is supposed to be, but still Valuation or CIU will still complain that the value is low, they still have their own value; apart from the value that comes out from the PAAR”.
“It is not really right about the system which is one of those things we are clamoring for. Let’s have a fixed value for a particular car depending on the year. So if I pay the value I am free to bring out the car and move”
“But now, if you drive the car by the time you get to Area ‘B’, you will see Customs and they will stop and search you and it continues even when you get to Ijebu Ode and so on, everybody will have to check the papers. So you should tell us the rates to pay, then if we don’t pay complete you can now hold the agents responsible”, he argued.