Despite announcing suspension of collec­tion of duty payment on old vehicles, the Comp­troller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, (rtd) has issued a code number to en­sure an efficient and effective vehicle duty clearance verifi­cation exercise.
The Senate on Wednesday also ordered the suspension of the vehicle duty payment policy.
But Ali, during a media stakeholders meeting in Abuja said that the purpose of the meeting was to give op-portunity to stakehold­ers to make inputs on duty payment on old vehicles and verification.
He explained that for easy traffic flow, the last num­ber which is 7 in the dig­its 094621597 can be either changed to 8 or 9, to get re­sponse faster with different customs personnel on duty at every point in time.
According to him, NCS had taken adequate steps to ensure that vehicle own­ers, who wanted to verify the au-thenticity of their cus­toms duty clearance, could do so at the comfort of their homes with the use of their mo-bile phones.
“For effective and easy customs duty clearance ver­ification, you can dial or send SMS to these numbers 094621597 with your vehi­cle C-number, the year you paid the duty and the port or location where the vehi­cle came through into the country.
“Immediately all that in­formation is given, just in five minutes you will get a response whether your ve­hicle duty clearance is gen­uine or not,’’ Ali said.
He said the essence of the numbers was to ensure stress free verification, to motor dealers and innocent Nige-rian vehicle owners.
Ali said that Nigerians misunderstood customs in­tention regarding duty pay­ment on old vehicles, saying that the excise was actual­ly meant for motor dealers.
He said the purpose was to give innocent private ve­hicle owners, who after ver­ification, might find out that their vehicles had no genu­ine duty clearance to take advantage of the 60 per cent rebate.
An online medium quote a stakeholder who spoke on conditions of anonymi­ty said all he could under­stand by Ali’s explanation was that innocent owners of aged cars would be stopped, contravened and compelled to pay duty, even for rick­ety cars!
“There is no controversy over Ali’s position. It is like coating poison with Sugar, before tasking poor mass­es to swallow it. This is not a bitter pill. It is sheer poi­son!” he observed, saying that the masses may never know what harrowing ex­perience or hardship they stand to experience, until the policy is fully imple­mented. - THE AUTHORITY