The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Wednesday announced the suspension of the controversial customs duty payment on old vehicles.
The Customs Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, in a statement said the decision was taken after the leadership of the National Assembly and the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) met with a view to resolving the impasse.
“They both agreed that the proposed motor duty payment, though in line with the provision of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap C.45, LFN 2004 should be put on hold while the Senate Committee on Customs & Excise interfaces with the NCS for further discussions
“While payment of duty on vehicles or indeed any dutiable imported item remains a civic responsibility of every patriotic Nigerian, NCS Management has directed that the exercise be put on hold while expressing readiness to engage the Senate”.
Customs had given a grace period from March to Wednesday 12th April 2017 – for owners of all vehicles whose customs duty has not been paid.
The agency advised all motor dealers and private owners of such vehicles to visit the nearest Customs Zonal Office to pay the appropriate Customs Duty on them.
This had sparked controversy as many Nigerians complained about paying for cars that had already found their ways into the country and the Customs Service initially defied a Senate demand the policy be put on hold, resulting in a standoff between both sides.
Members of the Senate Committee on Customs had invited Colonel Ali to the National Assembly in Abuja to give reasons for certain actions he took in the last few months.
Some of the actions that were criticised by the lawmakers on Thursday included the promoting and dismissal of some officers in the service. The Senators noted that the Customs boss went above his powers in performing the actions without the approval of a Customs board.
They added that they were not satisfied with the explanations given by the Comptroller-General and frowned at his refusal to wear the uniform of the service and insisted he must appear before them in his uniform.
The Customs then wrote a letter to the Senate informing lawmakers of his inability to appear before the Senate at plenary on Wednesday, because of a routine management meeting of the Customs Service.
He has asked the Senate to postpone the interaction to a later time but the Senate has rejected the letter describing it as a slight to it and
insisting that the Customs CG must appear unfailingly at plenary on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu will be screened today during plenary.