Customs Insists Duty Payment on Old Cars, Snubs Senate
By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has maintained that it would go on with the planned crackdown on vehicle owners who failed to pay duties on their cars, despite having them registered by various government agencies involved in the registration process.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, spokesman of the Customs, Mr Joseph Attah, said the grace period for vehicle owners to make the payment to avoid being embarrassed remains Monday, March 13 to Wednesday, April 12, 2017.
He said points of payments with the exception of Lagos and Port Harcourt will now be the nearest Customs Area Command.
It would be recalled that after the customs earlier announced this development, Nigerians kicked against it and the Senate, after deliberating on the issue, told the Customs to shelve the plan.
But at the briefing yesterday, the agency said in response to public complains and suggestions, its Comptroller-General, Mr Hameed Ibrahim Ali, approved the adjustment of points of payment and 60 percent rebate across board from 2015 downward to ease the process and encourage all motor dealers in position of uncustomed vehicles to come forward and pay duty.
Mr Attah said motor dealers in Lagos are to pay their duties at Zone ‘A’ Headquarters, No. 1 Harvey Road, Yaba and Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’, Ikeja. While in Port Harcourt, auto duty payment will be at Zone ‘C’ Headquarters, Nigeria Ports Authority.
He said further that, “In the same vein, private vehicle owners who know that duty has not been paid on their vehicles could take advantage of this grace period to do so, therefore owners of such vehicles or their representatives are expected to go to the nearest pay-point for assessment and payment. It should however be noted that the 60 percent rebate applies only within the grace period.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, the decision to grant a grace period for auto duty payment was not a sudden and arbitrary one, but a product of consultations and long standing engagement with Leadership of Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON) who pleaded for a ‘window’ to pay duty on all uncustomed vehicles within the country before the ban on vehicle importation through land borders,” the agency said.
Mr Attah added that the Customs was collaborating with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) and Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in the Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) to boost revenue and enhance national security.
He said the further benefit of this partnership is to make it impossible to “obtain licence and register” vehicles in Nigeria without payment of duty.
“We believe that when all vehicles are properly registered and owners’ identities tied to them, National Security will be enhanced,” he said.
He said, “While expecting motor dealers and indeed private owners of smuggled vehicles within the country to use this grace period to pay duty, it should be noted that the service will intensify its statutory functions of anti-smuggling operation with a view to seizing and prosecuting owners of uncustomed vehicles and other goods.”