NLC opposes Customs on new vehicle duty policy

THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed its opposition to the new policy by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) which instructed all motor vehicle owners in the country to submit their vehicles for re-inspection of appropriate duty payment.

The NLC said such policy is logistically callous and will create unimaginable chaos and suffering for innocent vehicle end-users.

According to a statement signed by NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and made available to the Nigerian Tribune on Sunday, the union said “It is self-serving and will in the end enrich unscrupulous Customs personnel who contributed in no small to the present situation through acts of commission or omission. It will amount to rewarding their complicity.

“It is common knowledge that duties on imported vehicles are payable at the point of entry. Subjecting vehicle end-users to this kind of trauma majorly of who have no hand in the importation of their vehicles is unfair and unacceptable.”

The statement also noted that there is no information on the vehicles to be excluded from the exercise. “This presupposes that the owner of a Morris Minor or a Peugeot 404 brought into this country in the 70’s is similarly affected. Beyond this, a state of mental siege is being created by all manner of endless verification and re-certification exercises in the country. It is thus morally wrong to inflict on the citizenry this kind of discomfort.

“In view of the afore-mentioned reasons, we strongly advise that the Nigeria Customs Service shelve this plan. Lessons ought to have been learnt from the violent outcome of the brutal raids of Ota market and the ambushing and extorting of money from vehicle-owners on the high way at yuletide seasons. Porous borders, as the Customs claim, are no justification for these actions or proposed policy action.

“Accordingly, in place of this unpopular policy which has received condemnation from all sectors of the economy, the Nigeria Customs Service should devise a coherent response that will deal with these challenges.

“Such a response, we believe, should focus on capacity building, modernization of operations, use of technology, massive corruption in the system and inspiration/incentivisation of officers and men in order for them to deliver on their mandate as well as meet annual targets,” it stated.

It may be recalled that the NCS had directed all motor dealers and private owners of vehicles ‘whose customs duty has not been paid, to do so’ between Monday, March 13th and Wednesday, April 12, 2017 as “there will be an aggressive anti-smuggling operation to seize as well as prosecute owners of such smuggled vehicles after the deadline of Wednesday 12th of April 2017”.

 

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