The acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, has said that the service would approach the Federal Government to review the 15 per cent National Automobile Council levy imposed on imported vehicles.
Adeniyi said this on Tuesday at Tincan Island Ports during his engagement with stakeholders under Zone ‘A’ of the Service.
Recall that last year, Customs introduced a 15 per cent National Automotive Council levy on imported vehicles.
However, Adeniyi stated that the service was aware of the challenges the agents were facing, especially the drop in vehicle importation.
“I have heard your concerns and the complaints, which your representatives have put across to us. Anybody who is in business wants to make a profit. And there is no crime when you do business and you make a profit.
“However, the understanding that we must have is that your business must be conducted within the framework of the law. The NAC levy and other ones are policies. We would also have a position on it and we would engage the government. The most important thing is for us to listen to you when you express these concerns and then we go and address it,” Adeniyi maintained.
The Customs boss urged the agents to give the service some time to address their concerns.
“Please give us time. We will address the issue of the levy. We are also not happy with everything that is going on. The rate of importation is low, and we know that vehicles are not coming as they were coming before and because of that, some of you are not getting as many jobs as you used to. I used to work here. So, I know your pains and what you are going through,” he said.
Meanwhile, at Apapa Command, Adeniyi was inundated with challenges confronting freight forwarders in the port.
Speaking on behalf of the agents, the acting National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Mr Kayode Farinto, commended the customs boss for disbanding the CGC Strike Force.
He said, “We all know that there could be interventions here and there, but the normal practice is for six or seven months, but the CGC Strike Force refused to leave. On behalf of all the freight forwarders, I assure you that we would work with you and by God’s grace, you would succeed.
“We need you to redefine the role of Customs Police; it has become embarrassing in the last few months. They intercept cargoes at odd hours. They have acquired about 50 motorcycles that they are using, and we get calls from our members around 1 a.m. Looking at the issue of the fluctuating exchange rate, I believe that this is an international trade…”
According to him, the prevailing exchange rate with which they open Form ‘M’ needs to be sacrosanct.
“We need to do it professionally. I want to advise that you set up a tripartite meeting between the Central Bank of Nigeria, NCS, and the clearing agents,” he noted.
Farinto said that the Vehicles Identification Number for the valuation of imported vehicles had been disrupted.