By Godfrey Bivbere
Following the recent increase in the levy for imported fairly used vehicles popularly called “Tokunbo”, operators in the maritime industry have called on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to probe years of collection of the National Automotive Council (NAC) to ascertain with it has been used for.
Managing Director of Braveview Investment Ltd and a frontline Customs-licensed agent,
Yenukume Nohoesu, wondered what the monies collected over the years has been used for and called on government to tell Nigerians how much has been collected so far.
According to him, “What did they use it for and where is it hidden? They should look into that before they increase tariff of vehicles, on these tokunbo vehicles.
“The money was not used for anything. It was supposed to be used for the manufacturing sector, for the assembly of those vehicles.
“The automotive fund when it was introduced was to ease the manufacturing of these vehicles in Nigeria to the level that Nigerians can afford to buy new ones. Right now, Nigerians cannot afford to buy new ones because the money is not there.
“In Nigeria of about 180 to 190 million people, only about 500 thousand Nigerians are enjoying. The millions left do not have anything to eat on their table; they do not have three square meals a day, how do they manage themselves with this new vehicle increase coming in?
“Even if you want to sell a new vehicle for #1, 5 million, how much is the salary of an average Nigerian? Even if he is to get vehicle loan, it is going to be plus insurance rate of 0.225 of the money,” he concluded.
Similarly, a director at Apapa Bulk Terminal, Uche Agbon, said that it is important that government disclose the actual amount so far collected by the council and what it has been used for.Agbon noted that government may not have made it known because no one had demanded for the actual amount collected by the Council to be made public.
In his words, “Of course, under a democratic society that is the ideal thing. The government also has an avenue where if any interested person wants to know, the Ministry of Finance is there. Any interested company or group could demand that from them saying, We want to know how much was collected.
“Presently, I do not think any group has come forward saying that is their interest. I know if that becomes the interest of a group or society, the government is obliged to present the information because government is for the people and not the people for government,” he said.