The Federal Government through the National Automotive Council (NAC) has again shifted the implementation of the 35 percent levy on imported used vehicles popularly known as tokunbo. The collection of the levy was to commence on July 1, 2015.
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 1.
According to Engr. Aminu Jalal, the Director-General of NAC, the implementation of the 35 percent levy would be on hold 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 administration of former President Goodluck 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.
By Pita Ochai