Licensed Customs agents have opposed the imposition of the National Vehicle Registry levy on imported used vehicles at the ports.

The VREG levy, which ranges from N4,000 per car to N,8000 depending on the size of the car, was introduced by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning in collaboration with Nigeria Customs Service a few years ago, to curb import duty evasion and smuggling of cars into the country.

However, in a chat with The PUNCH in Lagos on Tuesday, the founder of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Mr Lucky Amiwero described the levy as illegitimate.

He said, “They are supposed to have cancelled all these things because it is not legitimate as it is not backed by the law. It is from the Ministry of Finance, but it is not backed by the law. Most of the payments they are making are not backed by the law. So, what the government needs to do is reorganise the collection industry.

“Anything that is not backed by the law should not be collected in the ports.. These are areas that must be visited by the government because it is an additional cost ranging from N4000 to N8000 depending on the vehicle.

“They said it is for registration. For what? We still have vehicles registered all over the world. It is not part of the requirement for vehicle clearance.”

Also speaking, a member of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Mr Ojo Akintoye, said, those levies contribute to the challenge of multiple taxes that importers were grappling with.

“We thank God for the current administration for setting up a committee to visit some of these multiple taxes. These are multiple taxes on importers of vehicles. They should remove it. Where are these monies going?

“If they collect an average of like N10,000 for 10,000 vehicles that come to this country monthly, and they still collect duty, seven per cent port development levy, NAC and all that. Why all these? If you put together what these importers are paying daily, it should be around N500m daily on VREG. If you look at the number of vehicles that come to this country daily, you will understand what I am saying,” he argued.

A freight forwarder, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Sikremster Logistics Limited, Mr Remilekun Sikiru, said, “What is the essence of paying these charges? What is the effect of the VREG on the respective cargoes they charge? What is the take back to the freight forwarders that are paying this money? Without paying these charges, you cannot commence the clearance of your cargoes at the port. Most times they have server downtime for days, which causes more damage to the issue of demurrage. It is still the agent that will pay.”

However,  the spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Budget Department, Mrs Shado Boriwo, declined to comment and referred our correspondent to the Director of Communication in the Finance Department, Mr Saheed Olawale.

When a call was made to Olawale, he said, “This is the wrong number,” and he dropped the call.



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