‘Why We Support Customs on Vehicle Duty Payment Drive’

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By; RAYMONd TEDUNJAYE, Lagos.
Motor vehicle dealers in the country have reiterated their support for a recent directive by Nigeria Customs Service to collect duty payments for vehicles within the country suspected to have defaulted in payment.
Speaking through its National President, Prince Ajibola Adedoyin, the Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON) described the grace period for payment as an opportunity for all vehicle dealers and owners to pay duty and avoid the risk of losing them.
He said his members are ready to take advantage of the duty collection window provided by customs from March 13 to April 14, 2017 as demanded by AMDON.
AMDON according to him, suggested the mode of duty collection on vehicle to the Controller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali as a way of solving the myriads of problems being encountered by its members.
Adedoyin told reporters in a telephone interview that car dealers who, in his view, were the most affected by seizures of automobiles by customs have established a partnership with the customs.
He said his organisation established a rapport with the customs management to save themselves from losses, arrests and embarrassments occasioned by default in vehicle duty payment.
Adedoyin added that some of his members were in the past arrested and detained by the police after they sold vehicles that were eventually seized by customs for non payment of duty.
He said some of the vehicles, for which his members were arrested, belonged to Nigerians abroad and some importers who only use his members’ sales outlets to market and sell them off.
According to him, months after such sales were made the buyers will come with police officers to arrest car dealers for selling vehicles without genuine papers.
Buyer of the vehicle, with the support of the police, will then be demanding for refunds of total amount spent in buying the vehicle whose money the car dealer had remitted to actual owners after collecting a paltry commission less than 5% of the sum it was sold .
”When buyers purchase a car from a dealer and it gets seized by customs some months after it was sold, the buyers come to us with police and demand refund. Some of our members have been detained over issues like this”
”In some cases, you make less than N200,000 profit for selling a vehicle belonging to someone abroad and you give about N8m to the owner for the sales.When the trouble begins, the buyer will be demanding complete N8m or N10m from the vehicle dealer”
”While trying to avoid trouble, some of our members have abandoned their car shops and ran away because they could not afford to pay the demanded refunds”
”We advise those with vehicles that have no proof of duty payments to take advantage of the opportunity to also pay up”
There has been mixed reactions from Nigerians over the directive by customs that all vehicles without proofs of duty payment should do so between March 13 and April 14, 2017.
While some commended it as a step in the right direction to detect and recover lost government revenues hidden in thousands of cars on Nigerian roads, others condemned it saying its a sign of insensitivity .
Lawmakers in the Senate have joined the many voices asking the customs to rescind  its decision to collect revenue on vehicles within the specified period.

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