Auto dealers have decried Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) new documentation and dual regime of duties as well as harassment of their members, saying NCS’ activi are hurting their businesses.
The dealers are particularly complaining of the recent closure of vehicle dealerships across the country, which is outside the rules established by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that are binding on the country.
They specifically pointed out that if the arbitrary customs duties are not checked, it would create a fertile environment for corruption to thrive in the Service, thereby causing more distress to buyers of new vehicles in the country.
Last month, members of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service’s strike force and officers attached to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘A’, Ikeja, Lagos stormed the popular Berger auto market along Apapa-Oshodi Express Road, and other major car dealers’ premises across Lagos in search of what the Customs Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, told Nigerians and the international community was “based on credible information that there were smuggled vehicles in these car marts, but the sealing is just temporary. As from this week we will assess the situation and advised them accordingly as to what they should do.”
Since then all dealerships have remained shut, regardless of Attah’s claim that “those not involved in any bad business were not shut down. But I can confirm that some have been shut down. Within the week, customs will take a look at the records of each vehicle in these car marts and appropriate actions will be taken.”