11 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) has lent its voice to the Senate on the controversial import duty policy on used vehicles imposed by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, requiring it to impound vehicles on the road over importation documents regardless of how long the vehicle has been in use in Nigeria.
In a petition dated March 8, 2017, and signed by its President, Mr. Lucky Amiwero said that the move if implemented will create crises amongst vehicle owners and undermine the transport industry.
Amiwero who was the Sub-Committee Chairman on the Valuation of Motor Vehicles under the Presidential Task Force on the Reform of Nigeria Customs Service called on the government to urgently intervene to avoid the conflict and tension the directive will generate to the economy.
He explained that the issuance of Certificate of Payment of Import Duty on any motor vehicle by Nigeria Customs Service, certifies the payment of import duty and that point, the owner takes papers to the vehicle licensing authority for registration.
If the vehicle, according to Amiwero, has undergone the legal registration/ licensing process for home consumption, which gives the vehicle a new ownership, that alone has hands-off any further action of the Customs Service on vehicles.
He explained that importation of motor vehicles is covered under the Customs Legal Notice 30 that contains the Terms and Procedure, which comprises of the requirement for importation of motor vehicles, payment of import duty, clearance, registration/licensing and ownership for usage under home consumption.
He stated: “The Importation of Motor Vehicles undergo Customs clearance process after the payment of import duty, releases concluded and certificate of payment of import of duty on motor vehicles C50 OR C5.
“This certificate is issued in quadruplicate in respect of every motor vehicles on which duty has been paid.
“The first three copies of the said certificate is handed over to the importer who is to submit three copies of the certificate to the Motor Registration/Licensing Authority with an application for a motor license”.
Paragraph 10 and11 of the Customs Legal Notice 30 clearly states Vehicles Licensing Authority is hereby warned not to register any vehicle unless such Licensing Authority is in possession of the certificate of Customs clearance from C.50 or C.51 as the case may be.
“After issuing a license to the motor vehicle owner, the Motor Licensing Authority shall endorse and sign the certificate and must forward the original to the proper officer at the port or station of importation, retain the duplicate for reference purpose and hand over the third copy to the licensee.”
The above provision, according to him, restrains Customs Service from interfering with any motor vehicle that has undergone the legal process of registration/ licensing with the Vehicle Licensing Authority as applied under home consumption/ free circulation on private ownership.
He warned that there is an urgent need to interface the Customs Import Duty collection and the Vehicles Licensing Authority process on Motor Vehicles as contained in paragraph 9, 10 and11 of the Customs legal Notice 30 with National modern Information Technology platform that can identify motor vehicles that has paid duty and undergone the normal Customs Cleared process.