Nigerian Government Loses N200b Yearly to Cotonou, Others due to Import Diversion of Vehicles. Ban on land border will increase import duty earned
Diversion of imported vehicles to ports of nearby countries especially Port of Cotonou in Benin republic may be costing the Federal Government of Nigeria about N200 billion yearly.
This is figure represents the value of tariff that ought to have accrued to government had the vehicles been imported via the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to Nigerian ports experts say.
The NCS is in charge of revenue collection for government through paid duties and prevention of smuggling.
Many Nigerian importers are lured to the Port of Cotonou due to lower customs duty on vehicles and other imports.
This is the reason why the Managing Director of Ports and Terminal Multiservice Limited (PTML), Ascanio Russo supported the ban on vehicle importation across land borders the Federal Government recently imposed.
PTML is the leading dedicated Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO) terminal in charge of the largest volume of vehicles imported into Nigeria.
Russo said the company’s operations suffered a loss of more than 80 per cent of its cargo volume due to astronomical hike in the import duties of vehicles. He was hopeful that the government may want to go further and lower the level of duties applied on used vehicles to make them affordable for Nigerians.
The vehicle import duty rose 10% to 35% and the imposition of an additional 35% surcharge under the Jonathan administration and this caused the diversion of Nigerian-bound vehicles to neighbouring countries’ ports and more smuggling.
Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STAON), Princess Vicky Haastrup said, since the introduction of the high tariff, importers have been landing their vehicles at the ports of nearby countries and smuggling them into Nigeria without paying appropriate duties to government, causing huge loss of revenue to Customs.
The hike had led to loss of more 5,000 direct and indirect jobs at the port affected.
Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Usman, said the Nigerian ports are able to have seamless operations of increased traffic due to the ban.
Dwindling traffic that we are seeing was because of some of the government policies on importation of new cars. The ban through the land borders will increase port activities and the mechanisms in place won’t result in form any bottleneck.
Terminal operators are ready to take up the traffic on vehicle importation via the ports.