It is cheaper to import vehicles through Nigerian ports, says Customs boss

Immediate past Customs Area Controller, PTML Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Tunji Aremu, has advised vehicle dealers and importers not to divert their cargoes to Cotonou Port in a bid to evade the 35 per cent duty payment on imported used vehicles.

Speaking at a brief handover ceremony to his successor, Compt. Adegoke Folorunsho, at the command yesterday, Aremu said that with the new vehicle transit regime whereby all imported vehicles transiting through the land borders are handed over to personnel of the NCS by the particular customs administration the vehicles are imported from, smugglers or importers who wish to divert their vehicles through neighbouring countries will only incur more cost as they would be made to pay double duty.

He said with the policy in place, it will be cheaper to import cars directly to Nigeria instead of going through the ports of neighbouring countries.

“The vehicles will be escorted to the border both at Idiroko and Seme where you will pay the same thing your counterpart in Nigeria pays. It is cheaper to clear goods from Nigerian ports because it is economical and safer in as much you are presenting genuine declaration.

“It will be cheaper to import cars directly to Nigeria instead of going to neighbouring countries because before you get out of the neigbouring countries, you are going to pay them certain tax on the cars you are importing. So it is of no use running away. As the cars are leaving their port, they are being escorted and handed over to our officers so there is no escape route. Any route you try to pass, you will be caught and you will still pay the tax on the imported cargos,” Aremu said.

Aremu also disclosed that the command generated N7.4 billion in April; and has so far collected N8 billion this month – an amount he said is unprecedented in the history of the command.

He however, pleaded with the officers of the command to support the new controller to enable him succeed and surpassed the command’s revenue target.

The new PTML Area Controller, Folorunsho Adegoke, pledged to work hard even as he solicited the cooperation of officers and stakeholders of the command

Adegoke, who was formerly ASYCUDA Project Manager at the command, urged agents to be compliant in their customs documentation noting that compliant traders can get their PAAR document issued in two hours.

“Genuine importers spend less time in clearing cargos out of the port. My experience in PAAR operation is that those compliant traders get their PAAR under three hours at times two hours because the system is there to access their records. Immediately they submit their documents from the bank, under two hours their PAAR is generated because the system has been programmed with details of each importer,” he said.