Stakeholders in the maritime industry have kicked against the recent introduction of 75 per cent 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 would not only lead to diversion of these cargoes to neighbouring countries, but would also deprive many Nigerians the chance to drive cars. As a result of this, there are moves to protest against the policy by stakeholders this week.
Managing Director of Braveview Investment Ltd, Yenukume Nohoesu, who spoke on the issue, noted that government did not take 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-level; I will not say poor. With the duty raised to 75 per cent, assuming the vehicle costs N600,000 earlier, with 75 per cent of N600,000 being about N500,000, nobody will buy it in Nigeria.
“Combine 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, and you are bringing an increment of duty; 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”, he added.
Similarly, Samuel Elem of Okpoto Logistics and Secretary of the Association of Freight-Forwarders, (ASSOFF), Apapa chapter, said government does not have plans for the down-trodden. Elem noted that most Nigerians cannot even afford the fairly-used vehicles coming in from Europe referred to as tokunbo cars, 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 importers and agents at Tin Can Island are re-strategising on how to engage the government on the proposed hike.
The source said some stakeholders including ANLCA would 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 would not only lead to diversion of cargoes to Cotonou but also lead to smuggling and loss of jobs.
The source concluded that the policy would also affect the revenue collection of government agencies like the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).