By Suzzy Tolofari
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Retired Col. Hameed Ali, has approved placement of 60 per cent rebate across board on vehicles brought from 2015 downward.
The customs chief approved the adjustment of points of payment of duty on old vehicles to ease the process.
The Acting Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr Joseph Attah, announced the grace period for auto duty payment on Wednesday in Abuja.
Attah explained that vehicles which duties had not being paid from 2015 downward would enjoy 60 per cent rebate.
He added that all vehicles brought in 2016 to date would have to pay the normal duty rate.
According to him, the rebate is to create a soft landing for people who are in possession of the vehicles.
He explained that the 60 per cent of the total value meant the calculation would only be based on 40 per cent.
“So any private vehicle owners who wish to take advantage of the period and pay duty would save a lot before the coming into effect of a system that will totally block them out.
He said that the essence of the adjustment of points and payment was to ease the process and encourage motor dealers in possession of uncustomed vehicles to come forward and pay duty.
According to him, the grace period still remains March 13 to April 12, adding that the points of payment, with the exception of Lagos and Port Harcourt, will now be made at the nearest Customs Area Command.
“More dealers in Lagos are to pay their duties at Zone A, Headquarters and Federal Operation Unit Zone A, Ikeja while in Port Harcourt, it will be at Zone C, Headquarters, Nigeria Ports Authority.
“Private vehicle owners who know that duty has not been paid on their vehicles should take advantage of this grace period to do so.
“Owners of such vehicles or their representatives are expected to go to the nearest pay point for assessment and payment.
“It should be noted that the 60 per cent rebate applies only within the grace period,” Attah said.
He said that the decision to grant a period was not sudden but a product of consultation and long standing engagement with the leadership of Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON).
According to him, AMDON had earlier pleaded for a window to pay duty on all uncustomed vehicles within the country before the ban on vehicle importation through the land borders.
He said that the ongoing collaboration with FIRS, FRSC, VIO and the Nigeria Police in the Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) project was another bold step by the Nigeria Customs to boost revenue and enhance national security.
“The benefit of this collaboration is that those who do not pay duty on their vehicles will not be able to obtain licence and register them in the country.
“We believe that when all vehicles are properly registered and owners identities tied to them, national security will be enhanced.
” We are expecting motor dealers and indeed private owners of smuggled vehicles within the country to use this grace period to pay the duty.”
Attah said that with the ongoing collaboration on VIN and customs planned operations of bonded vehicle terminals, there would come a time in the near future when owners of smuggled vehicles will not be able to register vehicles in Nigeria.
Commenting on third party buying of vehicles, he said that 60 per cent rebate on the value of the vehicle still applied.
He said that the grace period could not be discussed no.
“If the grace period is about to expire and vehicle owners keep coming and we see the need, of course wisdom demands that we do the appropriate thing and take a review.”
The National President AMDON, Mr Ajibola Adedoyin, said that the association had been collaborating with NCS over the past few months to ensure that genuine duties were paid on cars brought into the country.
Adedoyin said that the association and customs were also working on duty charges to ensure that cost of cars was brought down, adding that vehicles were not luxury but necessity.
“The association sees it important to collaborate with the NCS to see how we can have a win-win situation.
“In our several meetings with them, we were able to agree on certain areas that we are going to work together to make it a success.
“As I talk to you now, customs are trying to put in some kind of things that will make it better for us as dealers, at the same time we on our own are building a platform to make it easy so that buyers can check every car brought at our car stands.
“The platform is almost ready and it is already in the country and our consultants are working on it and maybe in the next three days, we are going to unveil it.
“We find out that in every area motor dealers, customs officers and smugglers are liable to the offence,’’ Adedoyin said.
He said that the aim of the platform was to ensure that even after duties were paid on every vehicle, there would be something that would be issued to buyers to enable them to check on their own to be sure of what they were buying.
“This platform will make it difficult for people to try to patronise cars that have no duty paid on them,’’ he added. (NAN)