Customs CG not FG proposed new tariff on imported vehicles, says Anakebe


…As customs awaits directive from Finance Ministry on implementation

Contrary to insinuations in some quarters that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has been frustrating the implementation of reduced tariff on imported vehicles, the Managing Director of Goldlink Investment Limited, Sir Tony Oge Anakebe has said that the insinuation is not true.

Anakebe who stated this in an interview with Primetime Reporters recently in Lagos stated that it was the customs through its Comptroller General, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) that initiated the new tariff on imported tractors and vehicles for transportation.

He explained that the delay in the implementation of the new tariff on imported vehicles was probably because the Service was awaiting directive from the Federal Government on implementation as it cannot act on its own.

In his words, “I think that was a memo that the Comptroller General of Customs submitted to the federal government and as at today, that memo has not been acted upon. We are still waiting for the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidency to wade into it before it becomes operational.”

On the economic implication of the reduced tariff on imported vehicles, Anakebe who is also a chieftain of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) stated, “One, reviewing the components, the percentage the CKDs pays as duty because I think that is what the federal government is trying to harmonise. You have to harmonise between the duty payable on fully built vehicles and that payable on the CKDs of the ones assembled here. So, if the duty of the fully built vehicles is reduce, then, definitely, you have to reduce that of the CKDs in order to encourage the locally assemble vehicles.

“So, you have to encourage the manufacturers so that they will feel comfortable in producing and competing with the fully built vehicles. I think that is what they are taking their time to harmonise before they now put up the gazette.”

However, confirming the position of Anakebe on the reduced tariff on imported tractors and vehicles for transportation, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) revealed that “We are the proponent of the tariff on vehicles; it was engineered by us and pushed forward by us. I have seen publications where I have been criticised that I use my position to push for this.

“They do not realise that it is in the overall interest of Nigerians and we thank God and thank the President as well as members of National Assembly for accepting the proposal. Today it has become a law.”

Ali who spoke on Tuesday in Abuja in a press conference to mark the 2021 International Customs Day with the theme “Customs bolstering recovery, renewal and resilience for sustainable supply chain”, however explained that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Finance Bill on December 31, 2020, which stipulates a downward review of import duty rates on tractors and motor vehicles for transportation.

According to Ali, “The President has signed the bill now; we are now waiting for the Minister of Finance to formally send to us directing for implementation. If that is done today, by tomorrow, we will inform all our commands to fully begin to implement the Act.

“The only thing that is holding it now is that we have not received the formal conveyance of that Act and we are a law-abiding organisation. Once we receive the directive to commence implementation, we will immediately begin that. I hope and pray it will come this week or next week.”

Photo: The Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.)

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