Car dealers kick, demand release of vehicles seized by Customs 

Hameed Ali

Hameed Ali, Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service.

 

The Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON) has asked the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to release the vehicles of its members seized by Customs officials in a recent raid and halt the sealing of car marts nationwide.

The National President of AMDON, Adedoyin Ajibade who made the appeal at a press briefing in Abuja, also urged the NCS to facilitate the regulation of importation and car dealership in the country. 

Last week, Customs officials sealed more than 100 vehicle dealers’ premises, alleging that the affected dealers were trading in smuggled vehicles. 

Customs said the seized vehicles would be released only when the owners pay the statutory import duty and an additional 25% penalty on them. 

But Ajibade said, “NCS should treat car dealers with respect as we pay taxes and are contributing to the economic growth of the country.”

The AMDON President, who said that government should create enabling environment by reducing Customs duty and unnecessary bureaucracy in clearing of goods, also prayed government to employ the use of modern technology in combating smuggling.

He said that the use of modern technology to curb smuggling is what is obtainable in most countries.

He also said the Federal Government should bring relevant security agencies together to collaborate and checkmate defaulters at the point of registration of vehicles.

He said, “We were in rude shock when we woke up to a new dimension of sealing of car marts for days without justification, only for the suspicions that 90 percent of vehicles in the premises did not pay Customs duty.

“Sealing of car shops can never be a solution to the issue of non-payment of duty. Most of the vehicles on our roads that did not pay Customs duty are brought in by individuals who have no registered companies and do not pay taxes.

“It is a well known fact that motor dealers have been grappling with similar difficulties for the past four years without any respite despite extending our hand of fellowship to the NCS in the collection of duties nationwide.”

Ajibade urged members of the association across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja to maintain calm and be law abiding while AMDON uses every peaceful and legal means to pursue the resolution of the matter as quickly as possible