By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as controversy continues to train the recent introduction of 15% NAC Levy on all imported vehicles in Nigeria, the Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has urged freight forwarders to stop blaming the Nigeria Customs Service.
President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite in a chat with newsmen on Friday said the Federal Ministry of Finance should be blamed for the sharp increase in Tafiff on imported vehicles which has drastically slowed down importation.
Otunba Ogunojemite, said that people unknowingly keep blaming Customs on some fiscal and Auto policies that are rather churned out by the Ministry of Finance, saying that the blames should be channeled to the ministry instead.
The Association criticized the Federal Ministry of Finance on incessant increments that is already resulting in high inflation, and its failure to always carry stakeholders along by seeking their inputs before implementing some of its fiscal policies, saying that in a democracy no decision is sacrosanct, adding that policies are subject to review except in an autocratic setting.
“Before now, duty value of a vehicle could easily be determined by its model but presently, due to the NAC levy slammed on imported vehicles, Valuation Officers now demand that written applications for value must be submitted first for them to decide on duty value to be given for any vehicle, this has become a bottleneck as Freight forwarders can no longer negotiate with their importers on how much it would take them to clear a vehicle without first of all approaching the Valuation unit for tariff allocation based on compromise or personal discretion as tariffs on vehicles are not unified as it stands.
The APFFLON National President also revealed that the management of the Nigeria Customs had recently invited stakeholders to its headquarters in Abuja for a town hall meeting to discuss issues bordering on the new Automotive Policy nbut pointed out that why the dust raised by 15% NAC levy was yet to settle is because it was imposed on Importers without recourse to the harsh economic situation bedeviling private businesses.
“Sometime last. year, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, at the Grand finale of the sensitization seminar on Vehicle Registration (VREG) in Abuja, alleged that 40% of vehicles that made their ways into Nigeria were stolen vehicles.
“The Minister also said that aside that, 45per cent of vehicles that entered the country annually were smuggled vehicles which duties were evaded.
“Those statements are very big indictments on the Nigeria Customs Service and other security agencies both in the ports and at Border Stations. However, the new Auto policy (VIN) if not compromised would plug most of the loopholes.