Amidst Port Protest Threats, Customs Backtracks, Changes Controvertial Tariff Nomenclature to “15% CET Levy”

Hameed Ali

By DAPO OLAWUNI

Even as clearing agents operating at the Lagos ports have threatened to shutdown activities any moment from now, fresh indications have emerged that the Nigeria Customs Service has changed the controversial 15% NAC Levy on its systems to 15% CET Levy.

On April 8th 2022, the Nigeria Customs Service through a directive of the Federal Ministry of Finance, introduced the 15% National Automotive Council (NAC) Levy on all imported vehicles.

While the new tariff is generating negative reactions, DAILY TREND investigations revealed that customs have changed the nomenclature to 15% Common External Tariff (CET) Levy.

Licensed customs agents have reacted to the new development, saying that anything shut of total removal of the levy by the Finance Minister and the Customs Comptroller General would not be accepted.

Reacting, Taskforce Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can Island Port, Alhaji Rilwan Amuni condemned the desperation with which the customs service is trying to generate revenue at all costs.

“When the customs found that we are shouting on them on the 15% NAC, they have ran to change the nomenclature to CET Levy. We called some of our colleagues operating under ECOWAS, they told us there is nothing like CET Levy in their own column”

“If you compute the cost insurance and freight, the duty and the NAC, VAT, ETLS and 7% surcharge, you would find out that we are paying more now compared to when we pay 35% duty, it amounts to double taxation” he said

According to Amuni, the custom service is less concerned about trade facilitation, adding that things are getting worst for genuine importers and investors using Nigerian ports.

“The desperation is that, the 30% they were forced to reduce through the ECOWAS CET, they are trying to bring it in through the back door.

“In the ECOWAS, there is a proviso that every government can manage or set levy, but is it a crime if the indigenes of a country benefits from the government?
Let them tell us, since 2009, they have collected 35% from us till April 2022 when they complied, are they going to give us a backlog of the 15%?

“Levy is supposed to be on luxury items like a yacht, new vehicles, ships and so on, but you placing 15% on a 20-years old vehicle? What pleasure are we deriving from that?

On the planned reintroduction of the equally controversial VIN Valuation Policy of the customs later this month, the frontline customs agent stated that the customs service must accommodate value of cars that represents what is obtainable in the market.

“The VIN Valuation is a controversial issue, they are supposed to use transaction value, but they said they cannot do that, so let them bring down whatever value they are inputing to a barest minimum, and put level of caution in it.

“If they come to town with a value that accommodate what people are buying outside, nobody would work against them. The 15% NAC or levy should be expunged completely” he said

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