By DAPO OLAWUNI
Importers and licensed customs agents at the various RoRo Terminals in Lagos on Friday were left in a state of confusion as the Nigeria Customs service (NCS) reportedly reduced the duty payment on imported vehicles from 35% to 20%
The clearing agents claimed that the duty rate applicable on Common External Tariff (CET) trade portal on vehicles under HSCode 8703 was on Friday reduced to 20% Duty rate.
Many of the agents were skeptical, saying that the reduction could be an error from the customs.
Many agents decided to suspend payment of duty on Friday using the 20% because according to them, they do not want customs to come after them with alerts and Debit Notes (DN) after they must have taken delivery of their vehicles.
The agents claimed that the changes was already effected on the customs system. Some of them who spoke with DAILY TREND said that customs have a way of implementing changes on its system without any communication with the concerned stakeholders.
However, when DAILY TREND contacted the National Public Relations Officer of Customs, Mr Timi Bomodi, he said the news is not true. “There is nothing like that, there is no error, and there is no reduction to 20% duty for imported vehicles” he said
Contrary to the position of the customs spokesman, in a message sent to his members, the National Secretary of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila enjoined them to remain calm, saying that the changes was not a mistake.
“Members are enjoined to remain calm as this is not an error, but the extant regime.
“This has gone a long way to buttress ANLCA’s position that information and communication gap between NCS and General trading community is still at the lowest ebb.
“We shall continue to abreast members of this development real time” he said
Also in a message to clearing agents obtained by DAILY TREND, signed by National Vice President of ANLCA, Dr Kayode Farinto, he said the proper Hs Code for used Vehicles before now is 8733320 at 35%.
Farinto however said that this negates the CET tariffs where it was agreed that all member states should allow vehicle be cleared at 20%, untill Nigerians reported the rip-off by the Nigeria Customs Service to the ECOWAS
“I have noticed that some agents have been capturing vehicles under Hs code 87033319 ( which is reserve for other Gukky Built units FBU,for assemblers) since morning.
“NCS must make a categorical statement between now and Monday to inform people to continue to capture on 87033320 which has been reduce to 20% rate of duty”
“In view of this development, we urge our members not to force themselves to capture on 35% rate of duty for vehicles.
“Get it at the back of your minds that henceforth, vehicles will be on 20%” he said
On her part, spokesperson for ANLCA at Tin Can Port, Mrs Onome Monije said importers and agents are on standstill at the moment because they do not know what to do.
“Today was standstill for vehicles capture and release” she told our correspondent