Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Customs Begins Implementation Of Auto Policy

Even as the Port and Terminal Multiservices Limited, PTML Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS began the phased implementation of the automotive policy of government, as it concerns payment of duty, clearing agents at the command has hinted that PTML risk losing more than 40, 000 stakeholders operating at the terminal.

The agent told Sunday Pilot that the Customs had commenced the implementation of the policy against the July 2014 date earlier announced in the directive of the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Chairman of PTML Chapter of NAGAFF; Chief Goodluck Onunji in his opinion said that there are over 40, 000 operators, importers and agents included operating at PTML terminal and its shipping company; Grimaldi Shipping, and that if the auto policy is implemented, the terminal and the customs will lose customers and revenue.

According to him, the auto policy is not totally bad, but it must be given more time. Already, he said that the value issued by the PTML customs on vehicles have increased and it is now difficult for agents to make gains on transactions.

“We have over 40, 000 stakeholders at PTML and Grimaldi, they will all go out if the policy remains, we are not saying the auto policy is not good, but it must be done step by step”

“We are appealing to the Minister of Finance to please revert to the old system, many of us are already running out of jobs, and yet, up till now we have not seen any made- in-Nigeria vehicle she promised” Onunji said.

The freight forwarders including ANLCA, NAGAFF and other associations at the chapter had on Monday complained to the PTML customs on realizing that they had commenced phased implementation of the policy on vehicles.

The freight forwarders matched to the office of the Customs Area Controller, Mr. Tajudeen Olanrewaju and officially withdrew their services until the policy is reversed.

It would also be recalled that the customs had in March 2014 began phased implementation of the policy at the Apapa port. Under the arrangement, importers are expected to pay 35% duty as against the 35% duty and 35% levy specified in the auto policy.

Also, a chieftain of the PTML chapter of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Mr. Ugochukwu Nnadi pointed out that the phased implementation will not be allowed at the command.

According to him, agents are demanding the immediate withdrawal of the policy by the customs headquarters, else, the strike will continue.

“We went to the CAC and we have told him to inform Abuja, even though we know that he is just following orders, the policy cannot work here as they do in Apapa, here is a major vehicle port, the vehicle arm of Apapa port cannot be compared to us here, they are known mainly for general cargo”

“We will not go back to work until they reverse the policy and we have made this known to the Area Controller of PTML customs” Nnadi told our correspondent.

Our correspondent confirmed at the PTML yesterday that work is yet to resume at the terminal.

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