The federal government has directed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to end the new tariff regime for automobile imports and revert to the old one, following protest by clearing agents and their refusal to clear any auto import at the new duty and levy rates.
As part of the country's national automotive policy, the federal government in November last year raised duty and levies on imported cars by 50 per cent from 20 per cent to discourage importation of cars. The duty on buses was also raised by 10 per cent. With the implementation of the new regime, car importers are to pay up to 70 per cent of the cost of the car.
Under the old regime, it would cost about N280, 000 to clear a Toyota Camry 2002 model. The cost goes up as high as N840, 000 under the new regime. The new regime is part of the plan by the government to discourage importation of cars and businesses to create a robust market for local auto makers.
The NCS began enforcement of the new rates, but clearing agents at Lagos ports went into protest and withdrew their services from the port, forcing the federal government to revert to the old regime yesterday, till July.
Informing his members on the position of the federal government yesterday, the special assistant to the president of the Association of Nigeria Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr Joe Sanni, said due to the peaceful protest by Customs agents against the new automotive import rate, as directed by ANLCA's national president, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, the federal government has been forced to revert to the old tariff on used cars.
"This was conveyed to the national president from the Presidency. Members are directed to return to work, only if Customs implements the directive," Sanni said in a message to clearing agents.