Automotive council moves to track smuggled vehicles
Irked by the recent challenges in the automotive industry, particularly in relation to the recently launched Common External Tariff (CET) of Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), the National Automotive Council (NAC) has concluded plans to harmonise its automotive fiscal measures with the CET without undermining the essence of the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) Besides, the council has unveiled plans to launch a new mechanism that would aid the tracking of smuggled vehicles into the country.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s forum on Tuesday, the NAC’ Director, Policy and planning, Luqman Mamudu said that the CET regime of 2015 to 2019 conflicted with NAC policy, hence the need for urgent harmonisation. The forum brought together stakeholders in the industry including Nigerian automotive manufacturer /assemblers, Nigerian Customs Service and the NAC.
Mamudu said: “When the policy was launched in 2013, we came up with our own strategies and measures and in the cause of implementation, the CET regime of 2015 to 2019 came into force and there were some conflict between our policy and the CET.
But we called this meeting today so that we can harmonise the automotive fiscal measures with the CET without undermining the essence of the policy”, Mamudu said.
According to him, the challenge occurred primarily because the headings or Harmonized System (HS) code of the participants in the NAIDP were having challenges in terms of importation by way of classifying their imports.
Mamudu also said that the communication gap between the bodies had been resolved, stating that “there was doubt by the Nigerian Customs Service that NAC was not very thorough in its selection and approval of those who are participating in the NAIDP, so we have held several meetings in the areas of those suspicions, we have offered explanations.
I think they are convinced; this meeting is an outcome of that resolution. “We are now able to disseminate areas were we have reached agreement to the actors and it becomes necessary that after the outcome of this meeting, we begin to set up a resolution centre that will be operated by both Customs and the NAC so that any salient issues that arose will be resolved by that centre.”
He revealed that NAC would no longer recognise Semi-Knocked-Down (SKD) one, which was five per cent tariff, noting that both SKD one and two had been harmonised and would now be 10 per cent tariff.
Mamudu, who also revealed that NAC was working with the Customs Service to open a portal that would integrate its information, added that his organisation had sent a list of Nigerians to be trained by the Nigerian Custom Service and confident that after the training there would be integration of information between the NAC and the Customs Service.
We have had issues with the Customs in respect of establishing a portal where we can share data on vehicle that are imported but because of poor communication we have not been able to integrate our system with but we reached good agreement now.
If this is done, it therefore means that any vehicle that is smuggled into this country will be easily identified because we will make the portal available to the various local vehicle licensing offices
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