Even as the effect of the nationwide raid of car marts by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) rages, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has charged its members to take advantage of grace of paying the duty and the 25% penalty offered by the Comptroller General of Customs (CG), Col Hameed Ali (Rtd) on the seized vehicles and take back their affected vehicles.
The association urged its members to also advise their principals accordingly.
The advice was contained in a statement last week by the National Publicity Secretary of ANLCA, Mr. Joe Sanni.
He reiterated that the grace is extended to those who are still in possession of vehicles without valid documents.
Sanni however urged them to approach any customs command for the vehicles for the payment of duties in other for the documents to be regularized.
The statement noted that: “After the grace period, any vehicles still in detention might be condemned /auctioned to recover revenue. Affected members/persons are urged to seize this opportunity, to avoid embarrassing situations, please” the statement reads"
It will be recalled that the Customs boss in a circular No HQ/005, 2019 titled “Detention and Seizure of Vehicles” which was signed by AOB Fatade, an Assistant Comptroller General of Customs in Lagos on behalf of the CG and copied to all DCGs, ACGs, Area Comptrollers and Unit heads, said that all detained vehicles should be allowed to pay 25% of the duty.
“The Comptroller General of Customs has directed that henceforth, all vehicles detained or subject to detention should be allowed to pay the correct and complete customs duty with 25% penalty levy.”
The statement however gave an exception to already condemned vehicles by a court of competent jurisdiction not to enjoy the privilege.
” Furthermore, you are directed to note that all vehicles seized and taken into customs custody (Condemned by competent court of jurisdiction in accordance with the provision of section 167 of CEMA, paragraph 1, consequently it shall attract the penalty prescribed in Section 167 referred thereto.” it stated.
The circular also mandated officers involved to treat the matter as urgent and to tender reports of such dealings to the Customs Headquarters on a weekly basis.
” You are to report action to Headquarters on weekly basis. Treat as most urgent and ensure strict compliance please” he concluded.
Meanwhile,the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), has said that, 90 per cent of cars in the country were smuggled by unscrupulous elements.
Ali, who said this while addressing newsmen in Abuja, alleged that many vehicles on display for sale in auto shops across the country were also smuggled.
He explained that the recent raids of the various car dealers’ spots in some parts of the country were to ascertain whether the vehicles were brought in genuinely or not.
According to him, the country needs revenue for development, hence, it became necessary to collect duties on those smuggled vehicles.
“We want to use this opportunity to ensure that cars within our borders are fully customised, which means duties are paid on them.
” We are looking for revenue from everywhere and we have these people who brought in vehicles and failed to pay duties.
“What we are doing now, we are just enforcing the law, which allows us to collect revenue on behalf of Nigeria and also ensure those vehicles you and I will go and buy have genuine papers that are roadworthy.
“If you meet our officers on the road and they ask for the papers, if they discover you have not paid your duties, they will seize the vehicles.
“We are doing all these to save car buyers from running into trouble,” he explained.
The customs boss said the organisation would continue to mount road block from time to time to stop vehicles to ensure duties were paid on cars.
“The law allows us to stop you and ask for the car papers, if your papers are intact, we thank you and bless you, if it is otherwise, we will ask you to pay the duties
“If we find out you are not a smuggler, you are just an innocent buyer, we will value the car and ask you to pay the required duties on the car and you will be freed,” he said.