The e-valuation policy of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is fuelling vehicles smuggling and hurting Nigerian economy.
The President, Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON), Prince Ajibola Adedoyin, said in Abuja, at the weekend, that the policy was driving smuggling of vehicles into the country, as importers could not pay the nearly 100 percent price hike, occasioned by the e-valuation.
Asking vehicle importers to pay such high duties was a demonstration of government’s insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians who have been battling hunger, poverty, insecurity and high inflation rates, the AMDON boss argued.
Motor Dealers Laments Over Customs e-valuation
Under the policy, according to the president, the Customs duty of any imported vehicle, regardless of the year of manufacture, would be computed based on the template of a 10-year vehicles
His words, “For instance, if you import a 2007 Toyota Corolla, you’ll pay the duty equivalent to that of the 2012 model, which is 10 years old being the maximum age any imported should be, according to the new arrangement.
“Even individuals who managed to save up to buy personal vehicles that hitherto sold for N2 million or a little above that will now have to cough out about N4 million in an already distressed economy. What good purpose does that serve?
“We have seen that the way they’re going about it is not what the association accepts, neither will it augur well for the economy of this nation, most especially the transportation sector, which is one of the economic pillars of the nation.
“How many transporters and Nigerians generally can afford 10-year old vehicles? Vehicles are necessities because they’re economic drivers and a means of livelihood for those in the transportation sector.
“Without an efficient transportation sector, the economy suffers and we are already seeing it. Let’s be honest here.”
Urges government intervention
“So, in view of this, we call on the government to see what they can do in that regard because it is quite unfortunate that the larger proportion of vehicles used for our day to day life activities falls outside the 10 years maximum age that was set by the Nigeria Customs Service and this has caused lots of issues”, the AMDON President explained.
Heightened vehicles smuggling
The AMDON boss faulted the revenue generation philosophy behind the introduction of the e-valuation policy as counter- productive by fuelling smuggling of vehicles.
According to him, “They’re just creating businesses for neighbouring countries because the vehicles meant for the Nigerian market would be shipped there and then smuggled into Nigeria by road without paying Customs duties, taxes and other charges.
“There is a newspaper report credited to the Chief of Defence Staff which disclosed that there are 137 unguarded land borders in the north alone. We have other porous borders in other papers of the country because Customs personnel are not everywhere.
“So, these are routes where vehicles could be smuggled through and the so-called revenue the government is seeking to boost would crash instead. That is penny wise, pound foolish.”
Prince Adedoyin noted that the policy has led to a difficult operating environment for members of the association as over 350 vehicle importing and sales companies were on the verge of shutting down .
He said, “That figure is just for the companies themselves. Now, look at the bigger picture in terms of workers employed in these companies that would be thrown into the already saturated job market.
“We’re increasing unemployment in a country already battling insurgency and other deadly crimes that were caused by a large army of unemployed youths.
“So, to be frank, the e-valuation system is giving us a lot of issues.”
The president said that his association would support the election of any presidential candidate who would pay adequate attention to the economy and create a better business environment for its members in the forthcoming elections.