New Automotive Policy: CSNAC petitions Okonjo-Iweala

Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

CSNAC says the new policy will make it difficult for Nigerians to own cars.

As the government prepares to implement a new auto policy that may see an increase in the tariff paid on imported vehicles up to 70 per cent, a coalition of ant-graft organisations has asked the government to provide evidence on how it spent the auto levy it collected for the last 10 years.

The coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, has issued a Freedom of Information, FOI, request to the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to provide details of how the Automotive Council levy collected from 2003 to 2013 was utilised.

“Over the years, the National Automotive Council, NAC, levy was being collected with the intention of using that revenue primarily for the development of the local automotive industry,” said CSNAC in a statement.

Last November, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala signed a document that put the new import tariff for new and used cars at up to 70 per cent of the cost of the cars.

“It stated that a fully built car would attract a duty of 35 per cent and a levy of another 35 per cent of the cost of the vehicle. It was revealed that presently, importers/dealers part with 20 per cent and 2 per cent as duty and levy, respectively on new cars; which showed a planned new tariff of forty-eight percent increment over the old rate,” CSNAC explained.

CSNAC says the new policy will make it difficult for Nigerians to own cars and will encourage smuggling.

According to the CSNAC, if the aim of new policy, like the old levy, is to encourage local manufacturing, it begs the question of what was done with the previous levies collected since it has “no visible impact in the manufacturing industry has been witnessed.”

The group said the “situation has rather worsened and provides an opportunity for unaccounted revenue in the industry.”

The group therefore asked the minister to provide it with details of the amount of NAC levy accrued in the last ten years (2003-2013), the audited account of fund utilization as relating to the fund, and documents in respect of the utilisation of the fund within seven days of receiving the request.

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