… Felicitates with Muslims Ummah on Eid-El-Fitr celebration
The African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has absolved the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of any wrong doing over the recent increase in tariff chargeable on imported vehicles which was triggered by the newly introduced 15% National Automotive Council (NAC) levy.
The President, APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite who stated this in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday observed that the Federal Ministry of Finance should be blamed instead for the hike in tariff which he said should have been applicable only to the imported new vehicles.
Ogunojemite said that people unknowingly keep blaming Customs on some fiscal and auto policies that were rather churned out by the Ministry of Finance while insisting that the blames should be channeled to the Ministry instead.
He blamed the incessant increments resulting in high inflation on the Federal Ministry of Finance and its failure to always carry stakeholders along by seeking their inputs before implementing some of its fiscal policies.
The APFFLON boss who is vexed to the marrow over the ripple effect of the recent hike in tariff without due consultations opined that in a democracy no decision is sacrosanct, adding that policies are subject to review except in an autocratic setting.
While acknowledging that the Management of the Nigeria Customs Service, a couple days ago, invited stakeholders to its headquarters in Abuja for a town hall meeting to discuss issues bordering on the new Automotive Policy, he, however, pointed out that the dust raised by 15% NAC levy was yet to settle because it was imposed on importers without recourse to the harsh economic situation bedeviling private businesses.
Ogunojemite accused the Federal Ministry of Finance of never acknowledging its wrong fiscal policies while directly indicting the customs and other agencies.
He recalled that 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 adding that 45 per cent of vehicles that entered the country annually were smuggled vehicles which duties were evaded.
Those statements, according to APFFLON President, were very big indictments on the Nigeria Customs Service and other security agencies both in the ports and at border stations but expressed optimism that the new policy on Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), if not compromised, would plug most of the loopholes.
It will be recalled that a recent letter by the Federal Ministry of Finance with reference number HMFBNP/NCS/CET/4/2022 captioned “Re: Approval For The Implementation Of The ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) 2022-2026” and addressed to the Comptroller General of Customs, directed the NCS to collect 20% NAC levy on new vehicles while imported used vehicles should pay 15% levy.
This new Auto policy is yet to be accepted by importers and their agents as it resulted in sharp increase in duty value of vehicles.
Additionally, a press release signed by the National Public Relations Officer of NCS, DC Timi Bomodi stated that the nation had adopted all tariff lines with few adjustments in the extant CET as allowed for in Annex II of the 2022-2026 CET edition and in line with the Finance Act and the National Automotive policy.
He disclosed that NCS had retained a duty rate of 20% for used vehicles as was transmitted by ECOWAS with a NAC levy of 15% while new vehicles were to pay a duty of 20% as directed in Ministry of Finance letter ref. HMF BNP/NCS/CET/4/2022 of 7th April 2022.
In another development, the President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite has sent greetings to Muslim faithful as they celebrate this year’s Eid-El-FitrI.
In his congratulatory message, Ogunojemite urged them to always show love to everyone regardless of tribe or religion as exemplified by the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammed.
He emphasized that love was the best gift any man could give to a fellow man.
Photo: Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, President, APFFLON.