The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Tuesday, told members of the House of Representatives that many escort vehicles used by ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) are from smugglers.
This is according to Aliyu Saidu, NCS Assistant Comptroller-General (ACG) in charge of ICT/modernization.
He said, “Unfortunately today the big men in Nigeria, I didn’t say National Assembly members, all their escort vehicles such as Hilux trucks are smuggled vehicles. MDAs patronize smuggled Hilux vehicles. That is why if you go to our system, the number of Hilux importation has dropped but you find hundreds of them in town. Mostly used as escorts”.
It will be recalled that the Deputy National PRO, DC Timi Bomodi earlier said in a statement that the Nigeria Customs Service states that “except where waivers and, or concessions were sought and granted, all outstanding duties and taxes relating to such imports are expected to be paid in full. This applies even in situations where these imports were executed by agents or proxies on their behalf”
“We wish to reiterate that by law, only items imported by the President, Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is exempted from the payment of duty or taxes” it added.
ACG Aliyu Saidu also called for an amendment to the public procurement Act to mandate government agencies to request for evidence of duty payment on imported vehicles before they purchase them.
“If you make amendment to the next Finance Act, also make an amendment to Procurement Act that before a vehicle is taken over, you verify the customs duty, it would go a long way. NCS buy Hilux vehicles, but they do not take delivery until when the papers are verified that duty is paid.
“Any officer involved in allowing such cars are being penalized. As I am talking to you now many officers are before the board meeting for discipline,” he disclosed.