Customs Bows To Senate, Suspends Controversial Vehicle Duty Payment

Lawyers Condemn Customs Auto Duty Policy As “Illegal”

The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has suspended the planned vehicle duty payment policy which has been a source of serious controversy since the initiative was announced.

Spokesman of the Customs Joseph Attah, made this known in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Attah explained that the suspension was approved by the Comptroller General of the Customs, Hameed Ali, after a meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly.

He said that the meeting was convened due to the “unnecessary tension generated as a result of misconception and misrepresentation” of the proposed vehicle duty payment policy.

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During the meeting which held at the National Assembly premises late Tuesday, it was agreed that “the proposed motor duty payment, though inline with the provision of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap C.45, LFN 2004 should be put on hold while the Senate Committee on Customs & Excise interfaces with the NCS for further discussions.”

Attah further stated that “while payment of duty on vehicles or indeed any dutiable imported item remains a civic responsibility of every patriotic Nigerian, NCS Management has directed that the exercise be put on hold while expressing readiness to engage the Senate Committee on further discussions to bring them on board to understand the importance of the exercise to national security and economy.”

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It would be recalled that the Senate had summoned the Customs CG to appear in his uniform before its committee on customs and excise this Wednesday.

Ali was later quoted as saying in a television interview that he would appear before the lawmakers but not in the customs uniform. He maintained that as a retired army officer, he cannot put on a para-military uniform.

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But the CG on Tuesday wrote the Senate to say that he will no longer be able to answer the summon as he would be attending an important meeting of the customs on the same Wednesday.

The upper legislative chamber expressed displeasure at the letter which they said was not even signed by the CG himself.

The lawmakers described it as an affront on the legislature and insisted that the CG must appear before them as initially resolved.