By DAPO OLAWUNI
Following President Bola Tinubu’s Executive Order on suspension of the Import Tax Adjustment (IAT) levy on certain vehicles, clearing agents at the port has accused the Nigeria Customs Service of flouting the order.
President Tinubu’s Order largely alter and reverse some policies of the last administration on commodities, including vehicles.
However, speaking with DAILY TREND, clearing agents knocked the management of the Nigeria Customs Service for it’s refusal to engage it’s stakeholders or reverse the taxes.
Treasurer of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Tin Can Island Port Chapter, Mr Timothy Adebowale Adebare said the levy removal proposed by the customs has not been implemented, whereas if it was an increment, the customs would have implemented it immediately.
“When we engaged the customs, they said the Federal Government did not mention NAC Levy, whereas it was NAC Levy that we used to pay on vehicles before the customs fraudulently changed it to CET Levy
“Now that the federal government has said that levy is suspended on imported vehicles, customs are now arguing that the government did not mention NAC Levy” he said
Mr Adebare itemized some of the tariffs being paid on vehicles to include; 15% CET Levy, 7% port surcharge, 7.5% VAT. He also said that some vehicles have 5% duty rate while some have 10% duty rates.
Continuing, the ANLCA Treasurer said “We learnt that there is an argument at the Customs Headquarters that the Federal Government did not mention NAC Levy, whereas they are the one that fraudulently turned it to CET Levy
“Now they are implementing floating exchange rate. If today the Naira is N900 to a Dollar, before tomorrow morning, the customs would implement it on the System and it would make clearing cost go higher. But the removal of the taxes is to relieve importers and they failed to implement it”
Speaking on the floating exchange rate regime being implemented by the Nigeria Customs Service in line with directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) the clearing agents lamented that duty payment on cargoes is now unpredictable.
“With the floating exchange rate, customs duty payment is now unpredictable. If you have a PAAR that has N422, by the time you are capturing, the floating exchange rate would jack it up.
“We used to carry our importers along, that we cannot determine the amount the system would bring out.
Last week, we paid N1,270,000 as lowest duty Camry 2014. With this floating exchange rate, it would jack up to N1.6million.
“I don’t know why they have refused to remove the CET Levy, or which other Levy is there again?” Mr Adebare questioned
Also speaking with DAILY TREND, at the PTML Terminal, the highest vehicle importing port in Nigeria, the Public Relations Officer of ANLCA at the PTML Chapter, Comrade Ayokunle Sulaiman said the practitioners are waiting for circular from customs headquarters on the removal of the levy instructed by the President
“The customs told us that they are waiting for circular before they can commence implementation.
“You know that the customs in their usual manner, anything that would bring reduction in duty, they would wait till the last point until they receive the last circular on it. But if it was an increase in duty on anything like that, even before receiving circular, they would start implementing it.
“Up till now, the executive order has not reflected physically on our documentation. The only levy we pay apart from the traditional 7% surcharge is the NAC, so which other Levy does customs think the President is talking about?
When the circular is issued and they claim not to know, that is when we would kickstart” he vowed
Comrade Sulaiman noted that with the new administration of customs, there is need to correct the lack of proper information to stakeholders before implementation of certain trade policies.
He equally lamented that the new floating exchange rate has brought about unpredictability in the clearing profession.
“With the new floating exchange rate, it means nothing is predictable. If you talk of standard now, nobody can guarantee it, you can no longer do business forecasting, once you find it difficult to predict or forecast, it is bad for every business. This would have multiplier effect as it would be transferred to the final consumers”