Customs seeks ports’ competitiveness through tariff reduction
….Wants levy on cars slashed to 10%
To achieve competitiveness and effectively check automobiles smuggling into the country, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has advocated the immediate slash of current levy charged on imported cars from 35 to 10 per cent.
This will peg total tariff payable at 45 per cent when added to the compulsory duty rate of 35 per cent.
At the moment the total tariff for imported vehicles is 70 per cent consisting of 35 per cent duty, and 35 per cent levy. The Customs believe this rate is too high, and is responsible for the large scale smuggling of vehicles through illegal routes into the country, thus robbing Nigeria of the much-needed revenue.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd), shared his views Monday, in Abuja, during a news conference to mark the 2019 International Customs Day.
Ali said: “We have 35 per cent duty and 35 per cent levy and so if you import a brand new vehicle into Nigeria, you pay 70 per cent duty.
“From what we have done and based on statistics, we discovered that this duty has now driven most of our importers to our neighbouring ports, and also it has increased the rate of smuggling into this country of new vehicles.
“And since 35 per cent duty cannot be tinkered with, the one that can be tinkered with is a policy by the Nigerian Government. The 35 per cent was put in order to encourage our automotive industry to ensure that it is developed.
“If we reduce the levy, the volume of cars that would be imported into Nigeria will increase, and the revenue from the Nigeria Customs Service will increase.
“So we are advising that government should review the levy, and we are asking that it should be reduced to about 10 per cent.“With that, we will eventually get an increase in the volume of vehicles that are imported; smuggling will be reduced, and therefore we will realise more revenue and the lives of our people will be saved.”
Speaking on the achievements of the Service, he said since 2015, revenue generation had been on the increase, as between 2015 and 2018, it generated a total of N4.04 trillion for the Federation.Giving a breakdown of the revenue collection, Ali said the Service generated N904.07 billion in 2015, and dropped to N898.67 billion in 2016, as a result of the foreign exchange restrictions on 41 items by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
However, revenue collection rose again to N1.03 trillion in 2017, and in 2018 generated its highest ever revenue of N1.2 trillion.He said: “Our experience within these years have shown that with increased level of compliance from our stakeholders, and integrity on the part of all operatives, the nation can earn more revenue needed to build the Nigeria of our dream.”