Licensed customs agents are strongly opposed to the government’s failure to suspend the 15 per cent import adjustment tax imposed on imported used vehicles.

They were worried that despite the government’s announcement of the suspension of the import adjustment tax on imported vehicles, it had not been stopped.

The National Vice President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Nnadi Ugochukwu, said, the tax had led to a rise in duties on imported cargoes, which had resulted in the abandonment of cargoes at the ports.

He said, “They said they would remove the levy on September 1 and they have yet to remove it. The date has come and nothing happened. They have not removed any levy. It has led to so many people abandoning their consignments in the ports, especially vehicles. It has led to about 70 per cent of cargoes being abandoned in the ports. The date they have given has passed and they didn’t implement the law.”

In July, President Bola Tinubu announced the suspension of some taxes introduced in the twilight of former President Muhammad Buhari’s administration.

Tinubu also signed four Executive Orders into law to curb arbitrary taxation policy in the country.

Among the Executive Orders signed into law by the President was the change in the date of the implementation of the Finance Act of 2023.

The President deferred the commencement date of the changes contained in the Act from May 23 to September 1, 2023.

According to the then Special Adviser, Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, to the President, Dele Alake, the reason for the change in the commencement date of the policy is to ensure adherence to the 90-day minimum advance notice for tax changes as contained in the 2017 National Tax Policy.

Also, the Tincan Island Chapter Chairman of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Mr Abayomi Duyile, said that the association would be writing to the Federal Government on the issue.

He said, “It has not been implemented. There is nothing like that at all. Our association is even writing the Presidency by the coming week. It will be written by the founder. The levy has led to about a 40 per cent increase in cargo clearance. As I speak with you, we are groaning under heavy import duty.

“Someone who usually comes with about 10 vehicles before is now struggling to come with even one vehicle. Before the past administration, an average Toyota Corolla 2006 model was at worst N1.5m, but currently, the same Corolla is N4m, worsened by the floating forex from N422/$ to N756/$. How can one survive that in this economy,” he wondered.

Duyile lamented that the whole situation has practically affected and reduced their businesses.

“For import duty, they should stabilise it to the N422/$ that they met. Then the issue of the rebate: they said they were doing a Common External Tariff that is within the Economic Community of West African States country. The highest they charge on vehicle levy in the region is five per cent. Most African countries are doing five per cent and Nigeria is doing 15 per cent, which means we have gone against the ECOWS rules. If Nigeria as a head is doing 15 per cent and other ECOWAS countries are doing five per cent, why would Nigeria be doing 15 per cent?” he queried. 

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