There seems to be a brewing crisis between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Automobile Association. This is over the smuggling allegations levelled against the automobile dealers and the import duties collected by the NCS.
In a statement signed by its Secretary, Ademola Moshood, the Nigerian Automobile Association accused the customs of charging the dealers two regimes of duties as discovered in one of the meetings held between the two parties.
The dealers stated that the Customs were allowing corruption to thrive and at the same time causing distress to buyers of new vehicles in the country with their duties and system of documentation.
“Subsequent meetings with the dealerships revealed that the government’s agency had a system of documentation and two regimes of duties that create a fertile environment for corruption to thrive within its fold to the distress of buyers of new vehicles in the country.
“The Customs duty system is whimsical because it is not based on any known indices and certainly not based on the World Trade Organisation’s, which applies only duties determined as Freight on Board,” the statement read.
Recall that Customs had shut down suspected car marts as part of a crackdown to catch auto dealers who were selling smuggled vehicles. The raid was conducted across the country in Lagos, FCT, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi.
More details: According to the group, the FOB, which refers to the price of a product sold by a manufacturer to a Nigerian buyer or any other country’s importer, was universal and could be used to calculate local duties in the destination country.
However, the dealers noticed after the NCS shutdown that there were two sets of FOB in two different documents which should not be.
The statement explained that one of the documents, entitled ‘National Valuation Database for Imported Motor Vehicles 2014-2019’ was believed to be baseless, as the dealers claimed it was contrived based on the whim and caprice of the NCS.