By Ajibola Abayomi,
The Nigeria Customs Service have described as untrue allegations that its officers are collecting 70% duty on used imported vehicles popular called Tokunbo.
Customs Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ports and Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML), CSC Steve Okonmah told our correspondent on Wednesday that such news was a mere fabrication.
But Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), PTML chapter, Elder Samuel Obe, however said that there was an increase in duty even as he said that the federal government gave the directive from Abuja.
He added that customs had adjusted its system to reflect the new rate which he said was 20% duty and 50% levy saying that it was what triggered the meeting between customs and agents
Okonma however challenged anyone claiming to have paid such rate in duty to come up with documents as evidence.
”I am not aware of that development. As far as I am concerned, the person is carrying fabricated rumour. If anybody tells you that, ask him to show you documentary evidence” Okonmah said
He debunked the insinuations that the rumoured hike in duty necessitated the meeting between the customs and the stakeholders at the command, last week.
”Let me quickly correct that, there was never a meeting that was triggered off as a result of any increment. We had our normal monthly stakeholders’ meeting yesterday and when we have stakeholders’ meeting, we review everything that will move the command forward.
“We do monthly stakeholders’ meeting. If you had seen the letter, I said January stakeholders’ meeting.
“So, I have not said ANCLA and moreover, it was not only ANCLA that was at the meeting, it was all stakeholders; Council of Managing Directors, AREFFN, NAGAFF, ANLCA, Chambers of Commerce, they were all there, PTML Terminal Operators were there and all the sectional heads were there.
“Just as we have been meeting before, we will not say anything triggered off anything and we don’t have private meeting with ANCLA, we had a general stakeholders’ meeting for the month of January,” he stated.
Speaking further, he said that if there had been an increase in duty, customs agents would have been agitating against such.
Continuing, Elder Obe said: “We had a stakeholders’ meeting with our Controller yesterday and we resolved that we should go back to the old rate and they are still working on it at Abuja.
“Immediately we finished our meeting yesterday, the signal was sent to Abuja and Abuja is working on it to reverse the rate back to the old one”.
He however disclosed that the system had programme that all imported used vehicles from 2010 model upwards would now attract 70% duty while those from 2009 model downwards were now to attract 35%.
”The customs even instructed us not to go ahead, that was why we didn’t have any work here, we were waiting for the emergency meeting with the Controller. We informed our people not to go ahead to punch, that there was one mistake and anybody that did his job was on his own. But after our meeting yesterday, they were still adjusting the system at Abuja, as soon as they finish with that, everybody can go on with their functions”