By DAPO OLAWUNI
Freight forwarders operating at Nigerian ports system would be embarking on a one-day warning strike on Monday 25th of April in order to protest the controversial 15% National Automotive Council (NAC) levy imposed on imported vehicles by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Recall that the Nigerian Customs had recently slammed 15% NAC levy on both new and used vehicles, saying that this was based on directives from the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Though the leadership of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) had assured that clearing agents would not be embarking on any strike action in respect of the 15% NAC Levy, fresh indications emerged that he was not speaking the mind of all the practitioners.
In a circulated notice on Friday, Taskforce chairman and youth leader of ANLCA at Tin Can Island Port, Alhaji Rilwan Amuni said all freight forwarders are going on a warning strike on Monday against the NAC levy, as well as Customs Benchmark on Pre Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR).
“Haven consulted widely among the critical stakeholders as per this 15%NAC and Illegal benchmarks on PAAR, it has been concluded that the 15% NAC is a ‘FRAUD’ and an ‘OBNOXIOUS POLICY’.
“In view of this, in conjunction with other stakeholders, there would be a one-day warning strike on Monday 25th of April by 10am prompt, starting from our ‘Holy Ground’ in front of Grimaldi and we move down to CAC’S of PTML and Tincan enroute all other terminals in Tincan and Apapa.
“After sensitising/information we believe the authorities concerned will reverse this ‘Illegal 15%NAC and also review the Benchmarks on PAAR’ within the next 48hours.
“Failure to do this, all members should be ready to downtool and make sure we have a total shutdown at the Ports”
“Please note that Monday and Tuesday is just a ‘WARNING STRIKE’ agents are allowed to do their jobs and tidy up against Wednesday in Lieu of whether their will be a reverse or not” the notice read
In a recent statement by the National Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Timi Bomodi in defence of the 15% NAC levy, he said the move was in compliance with the Economic Community of West Africa Common External Tariff.
The statement read in part, “On Friday the 1st of April 2022, the Nigeria Customs Service migrated from the old version of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (2017- 2021) to the new version (2022- 2026).
“This is in line with World Customs Organization five years review of the nomenclature. The contracting parties are expected to adopt the review based on regional considerations and national economic policy.
“The nation has adopted all tariff lines with few adjustments in the extant CET. As allowed for in Annex II of the 2022-2026 CET edition, and in line with the Finance Act and the National Automotive Policy, NCS has retained a duty rate of 20 percent for used vehicles as was transmitted by ECOWAS with a NAC levy of 15 percent.
“New vehicles will also pay a duty of 20 percent with a NAC levy of 20 percent as directed in the Federal Ministry of Finance letter ref. no. HMF BNP/NCS/CET/4/2022 of 7th April 2022.”