Officers Cry Out Double Taxation As 3,650 Used Vehicles Arrive

As 10 roll-on roll-off vessels jostle for space at Port and Multi-Service Terminal Limited (PTML), Tincan Island Port, Lagos this month, customs officers have outlined the amount they will be paying on the new 15 percent common External Tariff Tax (TEC) introduced by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as double taxation. This is even as thousands of vehicles have been abandoned at Tincan Port in Lagos over the past two months. Expected at PTML in May 2022 alone, ships loaded with 3,650 used vehicles. According to the maritime position of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Grand Dakar, Grand Benin and Republica Argentina will dock between Wednesday and Saturday this week with 400 units, 300 units and 350 units of used vehicles respectively. Others looking for berthing space are Grande Luanda with 400 units; Greater Congo, 350 units; Grande Togo, 350 units; Greater Cotonou, 400 housing units; Grande Abidjan, 400 units, Grande Senegal, 400 units and Grande Acacu, 300 units.

As well as incoming vehicles, officers said abandoned vehicles were now accumulating demurrage and rent, while some were declared as overtime cargo because they had been in port for more than 28 days. The Chairman of the Task Force of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tin Can Island Port Chapter, Alhaji Rilwan Amuni, who condemned the desperation in which the customs service was trying to generate revenue at all costs , said there is no such thing as the levy of the CET in nearby ports. He noted: “When Customs found out we were yelling at them about the National Auto Council (NAC) 15%, they changed the nomenclature to CET Levy. We called some of our colleagues operating under ECOWAS, they told us there was nothing like CET Levy in their own column.

“If you calculate the cost of insurance and freight, duties and NAC, VAT, the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and the 7% surcharge, you will find that we pay more now than when we were paying 35% duty; this amounts to double taxation. He explained that some importers and agents had abandoned their vehicles because of the new levy. Worried about the tax, the chairman of the National Council of the General Manager of Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, in a letter to President Mohammadu Buhari, said the imposition of a 15% CET tax on motor vehicles was not supported by law or endorsed in the finance bill of 2020 and 2021. Amiwero noted: “There is no 15% TEC levy either on motor vehicles or goods, the only approval is on the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS ) levy of 0.5 percent, the introduction of pre lifting of the CET is foreign to our internal law and to the ECOWAS convention on the assessment of import duties and levies. “The transition from an NAC levy of 15% to a TEC levy of 15% by customs contravenes the principle of the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Kyoto Convention on the simplification and harmonization of the customs regime , of the World Trade Organization under the Agreement on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the fundamental principle of which is the predictability, consistency and transparency of trade information, fees and charges imposed in framework of import and export, which create confusion and obstacles. Amiwero said many vehicles were now abandoned in seaports due to confusion over the imposition of fees by the NCS. “Due to the confusion of moving from a 15% NAC levy to a 15% CET levy without any supported legislation, many vehicles are now being abandoned at the port, racking up demurrage and rent, creating a serious bottleneck. as a stranglehold on revenue collection and obstruction of trade, especially when not covered by any national law, the only levy approval for motor vehicles of 8703 cars is 5% by the National Assembly and signed into law by the President “We hereby request that the Federal Government expeditiously rescue the trading community through intervention, so that the right thing is done and the Port returns to normalcy,” he noted.

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