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APFFLON accuses Ministry of Finance of aiding inflation through  tariffs increment

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Segun Oladipupo

A group of freight forwarders has accused the Federal Ministry of Finance of being the cause of inflation in the country due to incessant increments of tariffs without recourse to the market prices of items.

The group also condemned the Ministry for its wrong fiscal policies and failure to own up whenever it backfires.

The Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics (APFFLON) said this in a statement signed by the National President, Otunba Frank Oguunojemite.

Otunba Ogunojemite also fumed over refusal of the ministry to always carry stakeholders along by seeking their inputs before implementing some of its fiscal policies, saying that in a democracy, no decision is sacrosanct, adding that policies are subject to review except in an autocratic setting.

The group, who accused the ministry of introducing 15 percent National Automotive Council (NAC) levy, added that the levy is already slowing down vehicles evacuation from the nation’s seaport.

According to him, the new fee had disrupted port duty payment by clearing agents.

He also kicked against the sharp increase in tariff for imported vehicles triggered by the 15 percent NAC ,saying the new levy should have been applicable to new imported vehicles only.

“The newly introduced 15% NAC levy has continued to generate a lot of controversies as it has also slowed down clearing of vehicles from the ports.

” Before now, duty value of a vehicle could easily be determined by its model but presently, due to the NAC levy slammed on imported vehicles, valuation Officers now demand that written applications for value must be submitted first for them to decide on duty value to be given for any vehicle.

“This has become a bottleneck as Freight forwarders can no longer negotiate with their importers on how much it would take them to clear a vehicle without first of all approaching the Valuation unit for tariff allocation based on either compromise or personal discretion as tariffs on vehicles are not unified as it stands.”

“In a recent letter by the Federal Ministry of Finance with reference number HMFBNP/NCS/CET/4/2022 captioned “Re: APPROVAL FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ECOWAS COMMON EXTERNAL TARIFF (CET) 2022-2026 and addressed to the Comptroller General of Customs, directed the NCS to collect 20% NAC levy for new vehicles while imported used vehicles should pay 15% levy.

“This new Auto policy is yet to be accepted by importers and their agents as it resulted in sharp increase in duty value of vehicles.”

The APFFLON National President said it was true that the Management of the Nigeria Customs a couple days ago invited stakeholders to its headquarters in Abuja for a town hall meeting to discuss issues bordering on the new Automotive Policy but pointed out that why the dust raised by 15% NAC levy was yet to settle is because it was imposed on Importers without recourse to the harsh economic situation bedeviling private businesses.

The association president, however, recalled that sometime in 2021, the minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, at the Grand finale of the sensitization seminar on Vehicle Registration (VREG) in Abuja, alleged that 40% of vehicles that made their ways into Nigeria were stolen vehicles.

The Minister also said that aside that, 45 percent of vehicles that entered the country annually were smuggled vehicles which duties were evaded.

Those statements according to APFFLON National President were very big indictments on the Nigeria Customs Service and other security agencies both in the ports and at Border Stations but expressed optimism that the new Auto policy, (VIN) if not compromised ,would plug most of the loopholes.

© 2022, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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