FG halts 25% penalty imposed on smuggled cars

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has postponed the previously imposed 25% penalty in addition to import charge on unlawfully imported cars.

This announcement was made in a statement issued by NCS’s National Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, on Friday, March 22, 2024, who stated that the action is based on a directive from the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun.

The Minister had previously announced a 90-day window, beginning on March 4, 2024 and ending on July 5, 2024, for the regularisation of import tariffs on particular car categories.

Maiwada stated that the idea is to reduce the suffering and encourage compliance, inviting stakeholders such as car owners, importers, and agents to take advantage of the opportunity.

The statement from Maiwada partly reads,“The Nigeria Customs Service, under the directives of the Honourable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, has initiated a 90-day window, effective from 4th March 2024 to 5th July 2024, for the regularisation of import duties on specific categories of vehicles.

“To ease economic hardship and encourage compliance, the Honourable Minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy has approved the suspension of the 25 per cent penalty previously imposed in addition to import duty on improperly imported vehicles.

“Stakeholders, including vehicle owners, importers, and agents, are encouraged to seize this opportunity to regularise import duty payments within the designated 90-day timeframe.’’

Recall that on March 3, the NCS under the instructions of the Finance Minister, Wale Edun, declared a 3-month period for the regularization of import duties for certain vehicle categories improperly imported into the country.

The NCS spokesperson, Abdullahi Maiwada, said the measure is targeted specifically at vehicles brought into Nigeria without the proper customs duties paid or those impounded for being undervalued.

The service said this initiative applies solely to vehicles imported into Nigeria where the requisite customs duty has not been fulfilled or vehicles detained due to undervaluation.

While announcing the development, the service said an import duty and a 25% penalty shall be paid in tandem with the import guidelines, procedures, and documentation requirements for used vehicles under the Destination Inspection Scheme in Nigeria (2013) and the NCS Act 2023.

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