Despite the Nigerian Senate’s order stopping customs from impounding vehicles imported into Nigeria in the last seven years without import duties, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali has said the Customs will still execute its planned verification of payment of duties on imported vehicles.
Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali. Image credit: Informationng.
Ali who spoke to The Nation newspaper in a recent interview said; “the approach allows Customs officers to seize any vehicle imported into the nation in the course of the last seven years for which no import duties has been paid.”
However, Ali has said the strategy was  aimed at generating revenue for the country; ”We want to ensure that we capture virtually all vehicles and tie vehicles to ownership because of the criminal nature of things happening in this country.
Somebody can pick your car and go and commit armed robbery or another offence because we do not have the data, we cannot trace the car to the owner. But if every car is tied to the owner, it would make crime detection easier.
I can tell you today that there are cars on our streets that have not been registered and there are people with different number plates in their houses. They just attach the number plate on any car they decide to drive and zoom off. This is simply not right.
For those of us who have lived in the United States of America, your plate number is your identity. Once they compute your plate number, everything about you will be reflected there. That is the position we want to be in this country.
We are consulting and we want to get to that level. We just create the level that capturing the data will be easier for us. The issue of verification is necessary because of the security situation in the country.
Also, there is the revenue aspect. You will not deny that we need all the legal money that we need in this country today. It is going to be tasking on us all, but the payment of dues in some country is necessary. We need to understand that some countries survive on tax. It is only in Nigeria that we shy away from paying our dues and people question why they should pay,” Ali said.
He promised that the Customs won’t be as hard as people think while implementing the policy.
Ali added that the hardship that will be felt while executing the approach was expected to attain the next level.
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