In response to public complains and suggestions, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, has approved the adjustment of points of payment and 60 per cent rebate across board from 2015 downward to ease the process and encourage all motor dealers in possession of uncustomed vehicles to come forward and pay duty.
While the grace period remains Monday, March 13 to Wednesday, April 12, 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 per cent 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 the leadership of Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON) who pleaded for a “window” to pay duty on all uncustomed vehicles within the country before the ban on vehicle importation through land borders.
Noteworthy 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 uncustomed vehicles and other goods.