Clearing agents have again abandoned vehicle clearance at the Tincan Island Port, Lagos State, due to perceptible confusion over the 15-per-cent National Automotive Council (NAC) Levy.
Mr Lucky Amiwero, President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), made the disclosure in a statement in Lagos on Thursday.
He said that clearing agents had abandoned vehicle clearance at Port and Terminal Multiservices Ltd. and Five Star Terminal at the Tincan Island Port,
According to Amiwero, there is confusion with regard to Nigeria Customs Service’s “shifting” of the 15-per-cent NAC Levy to Common External Tariff (CET).
“Though the Federal Ministry of Finance changed the heading to Common External Tariff (CET), clearing agents still describe the new levy as illegal.
“It not backed by law in Nigeria,” he said.
The NCMDLCA president described CET as alien.
“The shifting from NAC Levy to CET, both 15 per cent, by the NCS, contravenes the principle of World Customs Organisation, Kyoto Convention on the Simplification and Harmonisation of Customs Procedure.
“It also contravenes the World Trade Organisation under the Agreement on Trade Facilitation Agreement, whose core principle is predictability, consistency and transparency on trade information, fees and charges imposed in connection with importation and exportation,” he said.
Amiwero said that as a result of the confusion, many vehicles had been abandoned at the port, accumulating demurrage and rents.
He expressed worry that the situation would create bottlenecks to revenue collection and constitute an impediment to trade.
He said that the only approved levy for motor vehicles of 8703 cars was five per cent which, he added, was legislated on by the National Assembly and signed into law by the President.
“CET Levy of 15 per cent on motor vehicles is not backed by any law or approved in the Finance Act of 2020 and 2021, and not provided for in any law of the land.
“There is no such thing as CET Levy of 15 per cent, either on motor vehicles or goods.
“The only approval is on ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Levy (ETLS) of 0.5 per cent; so, the introduction of CET Levy is strange to our domestic law and the ECOWAS Convention on Import Duties and Levies Assessment and Collection.”