Instead of the expected growth, the 70 per cent import duty on new vehicles and the 35 per cent duty on trucks and buses are worsening transportation nationwide and negatively affecting the economy, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said.
To remedy the situation, it aligned with other maritime stakeholders, including the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and the Sea Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN)in urging the Federal Governmentto review the duties downward to boost the economy and improve standard of living of both those in the auto sales value chain and commuters alike.
Speaking to newsmen in Ota, Ogun State, the LCCI Director-General, Mr. Muda Yusuf, urged the Federal Government to urgently review the automotive policy to check its adverse effects.
According to him, “The 70 per cent duty on new cars is prohibitive and has put the price of new cars beyond the reach of most Nigerians and corporate organisations.
“Similarly, the 35 per cent duty on trucks and buses has negatively affected the cost of transportation. This is as importers are also grappling with the sharp currency depreciation.”
Likewise, terminal operators, while applauding government’s ban on vehicle importation through the land borders, had stressed the need for the review of tariff on vehicles imported through the nation’s seaports to increase patronage, improve the nation’s Roll-On Roll-Off (RoRo) operations, dissuade shipment diversion and ultimately, smuggling.
According to the Chairman of Sea Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) and Executive Vice Chairman of ENL Consortium Limited, Dr. Vicky Haastrup, the ban will minimise vehicle smuggling across Nigerian land borders and also revive RoRo operations at the nation’s terminals.
However, Haastrup enjoined the government to also scrap the high import duty on vehicles, imposed in 2013 through the automotive policy.
She said: “In addition to this ban through the land borders, we appeal to the President to return the import duties on vehicles to 20 per cent from the prohibitive 70 per cent tariff imposed by the former administration.
“The reversal to the old tariff will serve as an incentive for Nigerians to import legitimately through the seaports and make appropriate payments to government. This will boost revenue collection by the Nigerian Customs Service. It will also lead to the return of lost jobs at the affected ports.