NLC Kicks Against Planned Vehicles’ Duty Policy

NLC Kicks Against Planned Vehicles’ Duty Policy

…says it is callous

Chris Steven, Abuja

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC has cautioned the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Services, Col. Hameed Ali over the planned introduction of new vehicle duty policy describing it as logistically-callous and one that will create unimaginable chaos and suffering for innocent vehicle end-users.

The Congress said it is opposed to the policy.

The Nigerian Customs Services had on Tuesday March 2, 2017 directed “all motor dealers and private owners” of vehicles “whose customs duty has not been paid, to do so”, between Monday, March 13 and Wednesday, April 12, 2017 as “there will be an aggressive anti-smuggling operation to seize as well as prosecute owners of such smuggled vehicles after the deadline of Wednesday 12 of April 2017”.

But in the letter titled, ‘this letter is not realistic’ addressed to the Comptroller General of Custom, a copy of which was obtained by our reporter, NLC President, Ayuba stressed that the policy is a self-serving one which  will in the end enrich unscrupulous Customs personnel who contributed in no small measure to the present situation through acts of commission or omission.

It is logistically-callous and will create unimaginable chaos and suffering for innocent vehicle end-users.

It is self-serving and will in the end enrich unscrupulous Customs personnel who contributed in no small to the present situation through acts of commission or omission. It will amount to rewarding their complicity” the Congress said in the letter .

The NLC President noted that subjecting vehicle end users to the trauma of paying the Custom duty is unfair and unacceptable.

“It is common knowledge that duties on imported vehicles are payable at the point of entry. Subjecting vehicle end-users to this kind of trauma majorly of whom have no hand in the importation of their vehicles is unfair and unacceptable.

There is no information on the vehicles to be excluded from this exercise. This presupposes that the owner of a Morris Minor or a Peugeot 404 brought into this country in the 70’s is similarly affected.” Wabba said

He added that the policy is allowed to stand will create a state of mental siege as a result of  all manner of endless verification and re-certification exercises in the country saying “it is thus morally wrong to inflict on the citizenry this kind of discomfort

While advising the Nigeria Customs Service to shelve this plan, the Congress argued that lessons ought to have been learnt from the violent outcome of the brutal raids of Ota market and the ambushing and extorting of money from vehicle-owners on the high way at yuletide seasons.

“Porous borders, as the Customs claim, are no justification for these actions or proposed policy action.

Accordingly, in place of this unpopular policy which has received condemnation from all sectors of the economy, the Nigeria Customs Service should devise a coherent response that will deal with these challenges.

Such a response, we believe, should focus on capacity building, modernization of operations, use of technology, massive corruption in the system and inspiration/incentivisation of officers and men in order for them to deliver on their mandate as well as meet annual targets.” Wabba added