By Suzzy Tolofari
The Nigerian Customs Service, under public fire over its new policy on vehicle duties has explained what it is all about.
Mr Joseph Attah, its acting public relations officer said the service has no plan to set up checkpoints in streets, cities and markets to seize old vehicles without customs duty.
Attah said Nigerians were misinformed about the good intention of NCS.
What the service wanted to do was in response to a long standing engagement between the service and Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON).
According to him the NCS planned to effect a policy that will block the registration of vehicles that did not pay duty.
Attah said that AMDON pleaded with the NCS to create a special window for its members to pay at a discounted rate.
“People have embarked on deliberate misinformation; people misinterpreted our good intention; they have gotten their own interpretation.
” The customs is not going to set up checkpoints along the streets, in towns, blocking market; that is not what customs said and that’s not what customs is about to do.
” It was in responses to AMDON request that customs created this window of one month with 60 per cent rebate for members of the AMDON before we move into a new system which will block any vehicle that has not paid duty.
” What we are only saying to private car owners is that there is a special offer that has been given to AMDON, if you happen to be in a possession of a vehicle you brought maybe some years back and you know that you did not pay duty.
“Maybe you have been reluctant to come forward because of the amount due to this economic recession, we are telling you to take advantage of the opportunity and do so.
“If you say no, nobody is saying you must do it now but we are only reminding you that the situation where somebody drives into customs check-point and the person is asked by customs official to produce clearance document and that person doesn’t have, what happens?
“Everybody knows what usually happens, such vehicles are intercepted and it is not like a new thing. Our enforcement activities are ongoing process; the way we have been doing before is the way we will continue to do.
Attah said that there was an ongoing collaboration among FIRS, FRSC, VIO and the Nigeria Police, that in the near future owners of vehicles that had not paid duty would not be able to register them in Nigeria.(NAN)