…Freight Forwarders Raise Alarm As Customs Flout Directive
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has approved implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) 2022-2026 which provides for a slash in import duty of pickup vehicles to 10% without payment of the controversial National Automotive Council (NAC) levy.
DAILY TREND however got feelers from PTML Customs Command at the Tin Can Port, Lagos on Tuesday that, non-implementation of the directive by the Customs command is causing tension at the port.
The circular obtained by DAILY TREND, dated 8th April 2022 signed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed was transmitted to the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hameed Ali.
The Minister instructed that single and double cabin pickup vehicles under the heading of 87.04 should attract 10% Import Duty with no Levy, both old and new.
However, freight forwarders who spoke with our correspondent, lamented that a long line of pickup trucks are currently trapped at the PTML Customs Command because the Customs Area Controller, Compt Festus Okun has refused to comply with the directive.
The freight forwarders claimed that the Tin Can Island Port Customs Command under Compt Olakunle Oloyede is already implementing the directive.
Speaking with our correspondent, Mr Adebowale Adebare, a member of the delegation of freight forwarders who visited the PTML Customs Comptroller on the matter, said that “There is a directive from the Ministry of Finance that every pickup, both single cabin, double cabin should attract 10% duty rate without NAC
“Implantation is already ongoing at Tin Can Command, but at PTML Command, the Area Comptroller refused to allow the pickup vehicles to capture according to the instruction of the Ministry of Finance and be released”
“All the pickup vehicles are currently lying down here now” he alleged
However, Public Relations Officer of the PTML Customs Command, Mr Yakubu Muhammed, debunked the allegations of the freight forwarders.
Yakubu stated that the headquarters of the Nigeria Customs Service has not given the command an official circular to commence implementation of the directive a contained in Finance Ministry’s CET 2022-2026.
Speaking, Yakubu said “This is a national policy, if the Federal Ministry of Finance has anything they want to change on Policy, they send it directly to Customs headquarters, this is the official channel.
“After this, the headquarters does a coverage letter and sent it to the various commands.
“The freight forwarders came to our office today and we explained to them, that the Area Comptroller has to hear from the headquarters before he can know what to do
“Even at the Tin Can that they said the implementation is ongoing, its all lies, we spoke with the Comptroller not long ago” he said
The PRO said Comptroller Okun had called the customs headquarters on this issue, seeking clarification, but that the headquarters has not given him the permission or go ahead to implement.
He however said the CAC has given the freight forwarders two options, which is to go for Bond in order to clear their trapped vehicles or they should write to the customs headquarters directly.
He said the freight forwarders who are from Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) agreed to go and do bond.