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Duty On Imported Pre-2013 Vehicles Rises By 120 Per Cent

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•Importers of low-cost cars, buses out of business

Importers of low-cost vehicles may have been pushed out of business by the new regime of duty being paid at the ports.

The duty has gone up by a minimum of 120 per cent on vehicles manufactured before 2013.

For instance, a pre-2013 vehicle on which N300,000 to N500,000 was paid as duty, now attracts between N1 million and N1.3 million.

Officials said the government is protecting Nigeria from becoming a dumping ground for “over-aged” vehicles by implementing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the valuation of imported vehicles.

Common among such vehicles are the “old” models of Golf, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Matrix.

Some of the ‘used’ vehicles, if not cleared within a stipulated period, may also be declared as illegal imports and seized by the Customs.

An importer, Mr Fola Balogun, said the introduction of VIN for vehicle clearance was an indirect way by the government to phase out older vehicles as the age limit of recognised vehicles is now 2013.

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forced by the government to pay 2013 duties before they can move their vehicles out of the port.

Chairman, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Ports & Terminal Chapter, George Okafor, said “the challenges are that cars from the 2012 model and downwards are still paying the duty of the 2013 model.”

“The ones that are cheaper now are even the duty we pay on the 2013 model. If you bring in a car whose year is lower than 2013, you will be asked to pay for 2013. “Cars lower than 2013 will pay the duty for a 2013 model, which makes the payment higher.

“It is like the government wants to phase out old vehicles, they want to discourage people from bringing in older vehicles.”

Acting National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA), Dr Kayode Farinto, said the VIN platform has made payment of duty on old vehicles huge.

Farinto said: “What I think the Federal Government should do through the Federal Ministry of Finance is to review the policy. But, it is the policy of the Federal Government and we can’t expect the management of the NCS to legitimise illegality.

“You can’t see a 2009 vehicle in the system; the least you can see is 2013. The policy is that private vehicles coming into the country cannot be older than 12 years while commercial vehicles can be up to 15 years old.”

Speaking with The Nation at the weekend, Public Relations Officer (PRO), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Tin-Can Island Port Command, Lagos, Mr Uche Ejesieme, affirmed that any vehicle coming to the country that is now below the 2013 model is technically an illegal import and could be seized by the Customs based on the government policy on importation of used vehicles.

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