New car tariff divides Reps

Members of the House of Representatives were divided on Thursday over a motion seeking to suspend the Federal Government’s new tariff regime on imported used and new vehicles.
According to the government, the new regime is to create the enabling environment for the automotive industry to grow in the country.
A House member, Rep. Nathaniel Oriade, who moved a motion on the issue, said that a tariff of 70 per cent on new cars implied higher prices for the affected categories of vehicles and their components.
“Nigerians are already facing hardship and this new tariff can only worsen their situation,” he added.
The lawmaker called on the Ministry of Finance to “suspend the implementation of the programme up until such a time the assembly plants and equipment manufacturers would have started the production of Nigeria-made vehicles.”

But some members faulted the motion on the grounds that the Customs/Excise Tariff Act empowered the President to adjust tariff whenever necessary.
For example, Mr. Ibrahim El-Sudi observed that the only way to stop the policy was to come by an amendment bill and not through a motion.
“The President has powers to alter a tariff. It is an extant law, which cannot be changed by a motion,” he added.
There were members who also insisted that tariff was included in the Exclusive Legislative List and could not be changed by “executive fiat” unless by a law passed by the National Assembly.
In a bid to douse tension, the presiding Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, deferred further debate on the motion.
He asked the Joint Committee on Rules/Business, Justice and Judiciary, to study the opposing view on the motion and advice the House on what to do.

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