Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council; Mr. Jelani Aliyu, (M) and some top management with the delegation from Intercontinental Automobiles led by Mr. Rodolfo Revanales, Business Planning Manager during a visit to NADDC last week
The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) has called on the Federal Government to consider a downward review of the duties payable on imported used vehicles to 20%, saying that it will boost the sector.
The association also said that bringing the duty down to 20% will discourages smugglers as the incentive behind the menace would have been removed.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the association, Mr. Raph Agbogu, said this in a chat with newsmen at the second edition of the Nigerian Auto-Marine Conference & Exhibition (NAMAC) expo organized by PortBizness Communications in Lagos last week.
He also decried the inefficiency of local vehicle assembly plants, adding that the situation has made the country 100% dependent on imported cars.
“May I call on the federal government to review the auto policy in the country; the policy is highly stifling and encourages smuggling. Nigeria does not produce automobile; the few assembly plants are neither here nor there in terms of efficiency. As a result, the country is 100% dependent on import. With a poor economy not helped by the low income of an average Nigerian, one had expected a people- friendly auto policy, but the reverse has been the case. This has therefore given rise to a situation where the few that can even afford cars, either brand new or fairly used (Tokunbo) now resort to smuggling. This is not good for the nation”, he argued.
“As a licensed customs agent, I think a 20% duty should be considered by the government. With this, the cost of import will drop and many would be encouraged to bring in their wares through proper channel, rather than smuggling them in. In the same vein, government will discover that it may no longer be necessary to continue to prohibit the importation of vehicles through the land borders as the incentive which is the high duty has been expunged from the system”
Agbogu, also accused the National Automobile Council (NAC) of hindering all attempts towards reviewing the automotive policy, saying they are doing so because of their selfish interest.
“The greatest problem facing the review of the automotive policy is sycophancy. NAC are the people stopping the review of the automobile policy because they are collecting some percentage from it”, he alleged.
Explaining further he said, “a car importer pays 35% duty, 35% levy, 5%VAT, 2% NAC levy, 7%port surcharge and pays shipping company charges.
He settles terminal operators on handling charges and demurrages, a consequence of poor access roads. The consignee pays his agent for services rendered and if the car is containerized, he pays container deposit, which he will most likely lose because of traffic gridlock that would prevent the return of the container on schedule”, he explained.
The NCMDLCA image maker also maintained that with this situation at the ports, it will be very difficult for an average Nigeria to afford the huge cost of owning a car, stressing that it is the major reason many car dealers resort to smuggling.