By Godfrey Bivbere
Stakeholders in the maritime industry have kicked against the recent introduction of 75 percent levy on imported fairly used vehicles, popularly called “Tokunbo,” warning that the new policy would have adverse effect on the nation’s economy.
The stakeholders explained that the policy will not only lead to diversion of these cargoes to neighbouring countries, but will also deprive Nigerians from driving cars and as a result, there are moves to protest against the policy by stakeholders this week.
Managing Director of Braveview Investment Ltd, Yenukume Nohoesu, who spoke with Vanguard on the issue, noted that government did not taken the plight of the people into consideration before coming up with the decision.
According to Nohoesu, “The government has not taken time to look into the plight of the people in the middle-class. With the duty raised to 75 percent, assuming the vehicle costs N600,000 earlier, with 75 percent of N600,000 being about N500,000, nobody will buy it in Nigeria.
“Compare this with the new vehicles to be manufactured in Nigeria when there is no infrastructure; light or power to work and produce vehicles, no plant to assemble vehicles right now in Nigeria; they are only making Nigerians poorer.
“What government should have done is to allow for the commencement of the manufacture of those vehicles before increasing duty on the ones there already. Nigerians are managing to buy those cars to survive.
Similarly, Samuel Elem of Okpoto Logistics and Secretary of Association of Freight-Forwarders, ASSOFF, Apapa chapter, said government do not have plans for the down-trodden.
Elem noted that most Nigerians cannot even afford the fairly-used vehicles coming in from Europe, unless there is a plant that can manufacture these at a cheaper rate.
A source close to the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Tin-can Island chapter, said that importers and agents at Tin Can Island are re-strategising on how to engage the government on the proposed hike.
The source said that some stakeholders including ANLCA will be meeting with the government in Abuja this week to make their views known on the negative implications of the hike. The source also explained that the increase will not only lead to diversion of cargoes to Cotonou, but will lead to smuggling and loss of job.
The source concluded that the policy will also affect the revenue collection of government agencies like the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS.