Clearing agents express divergent views on FG’s postponement of 35 percent levy on used cars

Some clearing agents operating at the Tin Can Island Port have expressed different opinions on the federal government’s decision to delay implementation of the 35% levy on used cars till the end of the year.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, had on Thursday maintained that the duty on used cars remained 35% pointing that there was no truth in media reports (not SHIPS & PORTS DAILY) that the duty had been increased to 70 per cent with effect from July 1 based on the new National Automotive Policy.

Some agents who expressed their views in separate interviews with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in Lagos said government’s decision to delay implementation of the levy is a good one as the 35 percent duty is already taking toll on the number of cars imported into the country thus affecting customs revenue generation.

Others however blamed the government for introducing the 35% levy on imported used vehicles.

Public Relations Officer, Association of Nigerian License Customs Agent (ANLCA), Tin Can Chapter, Emmanuel Onyeme said the delay may be a fallout of recommendations from different quarters for government to have a rethink on the policy so that it will not affect the common man.

“The decision is a good one because I believe the government want to use this opportunity to test run things and see if people can afford to buy those vehicles that they said are made in Nigeria and at the same time maybe government want to use this opportunity to sit down based on the recommendations of different parties that they should look into the policy very well so that it will not affect the common man. And I believe at this point in time government is working on this decision,” he said.

He however advised government to consider rolling out the made in Nigeria vehicles first to determine not only the value of the car but if they will be affordable to the common man.

On his part, immediate past vice chairman, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarder, Tin Can Island Port Chapter, Ken Iyoha, wondered why the government will in the first place impose an additional 35% levy after it suddenly commenced implementation of the 35% duty.

He said: “I don’t see any reason why government should even put the levy at all in the first place because we should be ripe enough to do a thing before staring. A child that is supposed to be crawling should not be seen walking because it is an anomaly. There are so many things entailed in car manufacture. The infrastructures are not in place, the steel companies are not working, which electricity is going to run those factories where they are going to do the assemblage? The tyre manufacturing companies in Nigeria have relocated since to Ghana so are we now going to be assembling cars in Nigeria and be importing tyres from Dunlop and Michelin from Ghana?

“There is no transport policy that is working in Nigeria. It is about the only country in West Africa that does not have a national carrier, no road network and yet they want to hike levies on busses that the common man uses to go about, it does not make sense at all.”

Another agent, Godson Chibumdichukwu said the 35% levy implementation delay is a welcome development pointing out that there is already a sharp drop in importation of cars since the 35 percent duty was imposed by government.

“There is a cargo drop already with the 35% increment, if they now add the 35 percent levy again which means there is going to be a tremendous drop. So it is as if the government is skeptical over the drop because it is affecting revenue already. So the idea of bringing in the 35 percent levy is now being delayed in order not to mess up the whole system. That is why they are deferring it next year,” he said.