Many Escort Vehicles Used By Ministries, Departments And Agencies (MDAs) Were Purchased From Smugglers – Customs
Nigeria Customs says many Hilux Escort Vehicles used by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) were purchased from smugglers.
Customs wants (MDAs) to request for evidence of duty payment on imported vehicles from dealers before they purchase them.
Since 2017, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in its fight against smuggling of both legal and illegal goods into the country, has seized multi-billion naira worth of vehicles, including the popular Toyota Hilux pickup trucks.
In a recent chat with the members of the House of Representatives, Aliyu Saidu, the NCS Assistant Comptroller-General (ACG) in charge of ICT/modernization, said the number of Toyota Hilux importation into the country has dropped due to the patronage of the smuggled ones by government officials.
According to the Customs boss, many of the escort Toyota Hilux pickup trucks used by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) were purchased from smugglers.
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”.
Recall 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, which will 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,”
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