The Nigerian Senate has blocked the Nigeria Customs Service from going ahead with the proposed plan to collect duties on all vehicles in the country, including old ones.
The Senate resolved that the Customs should drop the move until its Comptroller-General Hameed Ali has appeared before the lawmakers to explain the idea behind the collection of the old duties.
The motion was moved by Deputy senate majority leader Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who was seconded by Kogi senator Dino Melaye.
Na’allah said it was a tough task for people to start searching for zonal offices of areas where their cars were bought several years before.
He noted that in cases where the cars were bought from dealers, it was unfair to make people suffer for the mistakes of such dealers if the proper custom duties were not paid initially.
On his part, Melaye said if the vehicles failed to pay the import duties initially yet managed to leave the ports, then that this is the Service’s fault and concluded that “We should not pay for the incompetence of the Nigeria Customs“.
Recall that the Nigeria Customs had in a statement from its Acting Public Relations Officer, Joseph Atta, told owners of vehicles, who did not pay Customs duty to do so between March 13 and April 12.
The statement read in part: “All persons in possession of such vehicles should take advantage of the grace period to pay appropriate dues on them, as there will be an aggressive anti -smuggling operation to seize as well as prosecute owners of such smuggled vehicles after the deadline of April 12.
“For the avoidance of doubt, all private car owners who are not sure of the authenticity of their vehicle’s Customs documents can also approach the zonal offices to verify with a view to complying with the provision of the law.’’
This policy has generated mixed reactions across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
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