New press updates reaching us at Naijauto clearly shows that the Nigeria Customs is not yet ready to dismiss its temporary “shutdown” order that has been placed on all the major car dealerships in Lagos for many days now.
Coscharis, Westar, Elizade-Toyota, Stallion Motors, Globe Motors, and others have condemned the actions of the NCS (Nigeria Customs Service) by denying its accusation of suspected sales of smuggled cars by the Lagos dealers. They expressed their disappointments by describing the false accusations as embarrassing and tarnishing to their relationships with foreign business partners.
Even authorised dealers as Coscharis or Westar Associates were under NCS investigations
When speaking about this issue with newsmen, a managing director of one affected dealership said;
“All car dealers in Lagos were shutdown, Affordable Cars Limited, Carlink Limited, Inehmic Autos, Globe Motors, COSCHARIS and Skymit Motors, Arrowhead Motors, Wonder Wheels Motors, Auto Point Motors and any name that you can think of were all shutdown. Even Stallion Motors was affected. The only one I cannot confirm is Toyota Nigeria Limited or Elizade Motors.
“They came and put a sticker, sealed off the place and said come to FOU in Ikeja. That was all. No information or notices. It was not as if they came and found smuggled cars in our premises. They didn’t even ask for anything. Globe Motors and Inehmic were the first place they went to around 7a.m. They came to my place in the evening. One will expect that they will at least ask for documents but nothing, they just sealed off the place,”
Also, during a recent press interview, one Ikeja-based car dealer that was affected said;
“We are not smugglers; we bring in our cars through the ports and pay a huge amount of money. To clear the average car now like Toyota Corrola, it is over ₦3 million. To clear a Toyota Prado, it is over ₦9 million, a Land Cruiser is over ₦15 million, a Lexus is ₦18 million while the G-Wagon is cleared at ₦21 million.”
“In my auto garage, I have 70 cars and I pay an average of ₦10 million per car, that is ₦700 million. We add value to the economy. We need to be treated with respect in this economy.”
Despite all of this pressure being put forward so far and outcry of these Lagos car dealers, the NCS shutdown still continues under the claim that it's searching for car dealers selling smuggled vehicles.
Most Lagos Car dealers are denying the allegations of NCS by claiming they don’t sell smuggled cars
One of the affected car dealers from Mainland Lagos even went as far as saying that the NCS has been harassing them this way for more than 5years now, “whereas nothing of sort happens to dealers in the North.”
He also said;
“All the car dealers in the North never get harassed nor checked. For your information, cars in the North come through Niger Republic without paying duty.
“Before now, individual buyers and car dealers come from the North to buy cars in Lagos but we don’t see them anymore. Agencies of government should do their work but not one-sided or at the detriment of the economy. We employ hundreds of thousands of people apart from thousands of Customs licensed agents we give direct service to; they are also employers of labor in hundreds of thousands and Total live dependents of millions of Nigerians.”
However, Mr Joseph Attah – the current PRO of the Nigeria Customs, reacted to this new allegation by confirming that the “shutdown” exercise is being carried out at all parts and zones of the nation currently. He said;
“How can anybody say that we are targeting the southern part of the country? The action was taken nationwide and as we speak some dealers were shut down in the east today,"
In the midst of it all, Mr Joseph signalled a light of hope when he mentioned that the NCS should meet on Friday 4th of October 2019 to look into all the reports the Federal Operation Units has sent to them so far and from there take necessary action next.
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