The much anticipated implementation of the 35 per cent levy on vehicles under the automotive policy has once again been put on hold.
The implementation of the levy, which would have make the total tafiff on vehicles to 70 per cent, was to have started yesterday, July 1st, but investigation at the port revealed that the first leg of the 35 per cent duty was still been collected.
This is the fourth time in one year that the implementation of the second phase of the auto policy will be postponed after it was first moved from July 2014 to January 2015, then to April and subsequently to July 1st.
However, it was gathered that the delay in appointing a supervisory minister who will give direction to the implementation was responsible to the latest development.
According to the Director General of NAC, Engr. Aminu Jalal, the implementation of the 35 percent levy would be deferred until the appointment of new Ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We have to wait for the Minister to come. As far as I know, the Ministers are not around. When the new Finance Minister comes, we have to brief the person on what we are doing, explain the policy and why we are doing it, the Minister will then take up the issue. He has to give the order before it is implemented,” he said.
The Federal Government under President Good luck Jonathan had in September 2013 introduced the policy under which it hiked the duty payable on imported vehicles to 35 percent and slammed an additional levy of another 35 percent bringing the total to 70 percent from 20 percent.
The policy, according to the then Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, was aimed at discouraging importation and encouraging local production of vehicles.
While the new duty rate and additional levy has since been applied on imported new cars, importers of fairly used cars otherwise known as ‘tokunbo’ have been exempted from paying the levy.
Eventhough most of the industry operators, especially the Customs brokers , have kicked against the introduction of the policy, which they regarderd as ill-timed despite its desirability, the past administration of Goodluck Jonathan had doggedly pushed on with it.
However, the present administration may tinker with the controversial policy which it felt was too hash on the common people.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice –President of the country, had promised, during the run on to the 2015 general election which his APC-led government won, that the auto policy would be reviewed to give it human face.
Also, the implementation of the second leg of the policy may have to tarry a while as President Buhari has said he was not in a hurry to appoint new ministers which may not happen before September, this year.