Clearing agents under the aegis of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) have resolved to embark on a warning strike from Monday, April 25.
The Chairman of ANLCA Taskforce, Mr. Rilwan Amuni, announced the strike action in a circular issued at the weekend in Lagos.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had recently introduced a 15-per cent National Automobile Commission (NAC) levy on used imported vehicles, but this did not go down well with clearing agents in the country’s maritime sector.
The National Public Relations Officer of Customs, Timi Bomodi, said the move was in line with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Common external tariff, 2017-2021.
Bomodi said in a statement that the service migrated from the old version of the ECOWAS CAT to the new version, adding that this was in line with the World Customs Organisation’s five-year review of its nomenclature.
“On Friday, April 1, 2022, the Nigeria Customs Service migrated from the old version of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (2017- 2021) to the new version (2022- 2026). This is in line with WCO’s five years’ review of the nomenclature. The contracting parties are expected to adopt the review based on regional considerations and national economic policy.
“The nation has adopted all tariff lines with few adjustments in the extant CET. As allowed for in Annex II of the 2022-2026 CET edition, and in line with the Finance Act and the National Automotive Policy, NCS has retained a duty rate of 20 per cent for used vehicles as was transmitted by ECOWAS with a NAC levy of 15 per cent. New vehicles will also pay a duty of 20 per cent with a NAC levy of 20 per cent as directed in the Federal Ministry of Finance letter ref. no. HMF BNP/NCS/CET/4/2022 of 7th April 2022”
The Chairman of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited chapter, Abayomi Duyile, while reacting to the hike, said the move could have an adverse effect on the sector.
He said, “As I speak to you now, the NCS has reintroduced the NAC levy, which is a 15-per cent payment on used imported vehicles. That is a major issue; it means an additional 15 per cent on the duty we are paying currently.”
Duyile said he was surprised the service was coming up with the levy in the second quarter of this year.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, PTML Chapter, Mr. George Okafor, said: “This is wrong because there is no way Customs can calculate NAC levy on used vehicles. It should be for new vehicles. The levy is for new vehicles, and not old or used vehicles. We will have to meet with the Customs command to determine the next line of action.”
But ANLCA argued that the NAC levy is mostly meant for new vehicles, questioning the rationale behind the introduction of the duty on used vehicles.
The ANLCA circular said the warning strike was a fall-out of consultations among critical stakeholders.
It said the warning strike would commence on Monday and will last till Tuesday.
“We have consulted widely among critical stakeholders as par the 15 per cent NAC and “illegal benchmarks on Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR),” the circular said.
“It has been concluded that the 15 per cent NAC is a fraud and an obnoxious policy.
“In view of this, in conjunction with other stakeholders there will be a one-day warning strike on April 25 by 10:00 a.m. prompt, starting from our ‘Holy Ground’ in front of Grimaldi.
“And we will move down to Customs Area Controller (CAC’S) of Port and Terminal Multi-services Ltd. (PTML) and Tincan enroute all other terminals in Tincan and Apapa.
“Please note that April 25 and 26 is just a ‘warning strike’; agents are allowed to do their jobs and tidy up against Wednesday in lieu of whether there will be a reverse or not.”
The ANLCA expressed optimism that the authorities concerned would reverse the “Illegal 15 per cent NAC and also review the benchmarks on PAAR” within the next 48 hours.
It, however, enjoined its members to ensure a total shutdown at all ports if the policy is not reversed after the warning strike.(THISDAY)