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Anti-Smuggling Measures: Customs approve 60% rebate for duties for cars 2015 downwards; as Senate rejects planned impounding of cars.

 The authorities of the Nigerian Customs Service have approved a 60 per cent rebate for duties to be paid for cars smuggled into the country from 2015 down wards while the points for payment of duties have been adjusted and increased.
A statement signed by Assistant Controller, Joseph Attah, Acting Public Relations Officer NCS said, “In response to public complains and suggestions, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) has approved the adjustment of points of payment and 60% rebate across board from 2015 downward to ease the process and encourage all motor dealers in position of un-customed vehicles to come forward and pay duty.

“While the grace period remains Monday 13th March to Wednesday 12th April, the points of payments with the exception of Lagos and Port Harcourt will now be the nearest Customs Area Command.

“Motor dealers in Lagos are to pay their duties at Zone ‘A’ Headquarters, No. 1 Harvey Road, Yaba and Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’, Ikeja. While in Port Harcourt, auto duty payment will be at Zone ‘C’ Headquarters, Nigeria Ports Authority.

“In the same vein, private vehicle owners who know that duty has not been paid on their vehicles could take advantage of this grace period to do so, therefore owners of such vehicles or their representatives are expected to go to the nearest pay-point for assessment and payment.
 “It should however be noted that the 60% rebate applies only within the grace period.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the decision to grant a grace period for auto duty payment was not a sudden and arbitrary one, but a product of consultations and long standing engagement with Leadership of Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON) who pleaded for a ‘window’ to pay duty on all un-customed vehicles within the Country before the ban on vehicle importation through land borders.

“Note worthy also is the ongoing collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) and Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in the Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) Project which is another bold step by the Service to boost revenue and enhance national security.
“The benefit of this collaboration is that those who do not pay duty on their vehicles will not be able to obtain licence and register them in Nigeria. 
“We believe that when all vehicles are properly registered and owners’ identities tied to them, National Security will be enhanced.

“While expecting Motor dealers and indeed private owners of smuggled vehicles within the Country to use this grace period to pay duty, it should be noted that the Service will intensify its statutory functions of anti-smuggling operation with a view to seizing and prosecuting owners of un-customed vehicles and other goods.

Recall that on Tuesday, the Senate yesterday rejected plans by the Customs Service to impound vehicles whose customs duties have not been paid.
Adopting a motion by Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi) the Senate directed the NCS to stop the implementation of its circular on the matter.
In a circular dated March 2, the Customs said it extended the grace period of one month, between March 13 and April 12, for all vehicle owners in the country whose customs duties were not paid to do so.
But raising a point of order, Na’Allah said the circular was issued without clear guidelines as to what category of vehicles would be affected.
He said implementation of the circular would cause significant discomfort to the teeming law abiding citizens of Nigeria, saying it was already causing anxiety among the citizens. 
“The Senate do hereby resolve to direct the Nigerian Customs to stop all actions regarding the implementation of the same circular until it appears before the Senate Committee on Customs to explain in details the purpose of the circular to the Nigerian public,” he said.
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