*Say it will encourage smuggling, corruption others
*Customs will become more corrupt

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

IN what seemed to be unanimity of opinions, operators in the ports, border posts, and auto sellers have warned of grave consequences of government’s decision to ban the importation of  vehicles  from land borders.

It would be recalled that last week Monday, the Federal Government announced the ban on importation of both new and old vehicles through the border posts from January 2017. The operators expressed fears that the  decision was ill-timed, adding that it would  be counterproductive.

They agreed that the decision would only lead to increased smuggling, unemployment, high crime rate and intensified corruption among Customs officers at the border posts.

They also agreed that until the controversial automotive policy is reviewed, the ban placed on the importation of vehicles through the borders would have adverse effects.

Prince Olayiwola Shittu, the National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA) said to make the ban workable and meaningful, the controversial auto policy needed to be reviewed.

‘’We need to review the auto policy to encourage vehicles to come to the ports. Even if you come by sea and you pay 70 per cent while your competitors favoured by government pay 35 percent, it does not  make sense”The ANLCA  boss declared.

He also advised that all the vehicles trapped at Cotonou should be conveyed to the sea port by East-West Coast vessels.

However, Kayode Farinto, the National Publicity Secretary of the association was more combative in his reaction.

‘’Government is not serious. If the government is serious, the first thing was to review the auto policy. What government does by this decision is to block the importation of vehicles from the borders, force importers to pay 70 per cent tariff at the ports, this will increase the activities of smugglers.”

He believed that government was not listening, adding that  it ought to have made wide consultations among stakeholders before promulgating the law. He questioned the propriety of the auto policy ‘’Are we really producing or assembling vehicles in Nigeria? he queried.

 

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