The Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS) has urged the Nigeria Customs Service to remove the depreciation year of a vehicle before it can fix the actual duty to be paid on the vehicle.
The President of the association, Rev Jonathan Nicol who disclosed this during a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos last week, also charged the service to follow the tariff payable on vehicles strictly.
He also lauded the Nigeria Customs Integrated System (NICIS) 2 saying that it will help to reduce corruption in the ports.
According to him, “anything that will reduce human contact, what is creating corruption is because they have human contact. So anything that could reduce contact is good and then the Nigeria Customs Service should follow the rules of engagement”
“Every vehicle for instance has year of depreciation whether it is brand new or not, after one year it has a depreciation effect. So they should remove the year of depreciation before they could get the factory price. And follow the tariff strictly and of course people will be happy to do business in Nigeria”.
He also blamed the federal government as the major reason vehicle smuggling from Cotonou in Benin Republic still thrives, adding that what Benin Republic did was to reduce the cost of doing business in the country.
He also urged the federal government to go about their legitimate duty and stop flexing muscles with importers.
He maintained that ease of doing business will not work unless there is a reduction on the cost of doing business in the ports.
“You see what Cotonou did that will always attract importers to their ports is reduction on the cost of doing business in their country. And anywhere that it is cheap for you to do business is where you will go. So I don’t know why the federal government of Nigeria is competing with businessmen. And that is where we are getting it wrong. The duty of the Nigeria Customs Service is to collect tariff not for them to be flexing muscles with businessmen telling them your duty is not correct, you must pay this or that. All those things don’t go well at all, and more so when they have queries like that you have to pay additional demurrages to terminal operators. So that is one of the reasons why we are saying that the ease of doing business will not work if there are no reductions on the cost of doing business. And Cotonuo is doing that because they have nothing to lose if you look at it very well. If for instance they have 100 vehicles and people complain that the duties are very high, they will reduce it and the people will pay. They have nothing to lose so it is the same thing with this country, why are we chasing away our businessmen with high cost of doing business”, he explained.
Speaking on the server of the customs which was destroyed by the windstorm recently, he said that no importer should be allowed to pay any demurrage.
“It is wrong for government to ask importers to pay for demurrages when they have natural disaster like that. It is not the fault off the shipper at all. So I expect that customs should give leverages to importers for something that they didn’t induce. It is a natural disaster so nobody should pay for it. Nobody should pay for it so I expect the Nigerian Service to know that we cannot pay for something when there is a natural disaster, it is wrong” he concluded.