Clearing Agents Call Out Nigeria Customs over Reintroduction of 15 Percent Levy on Imported Vehicles
Clearing agents operating in the nation’s maritime sector may withdraw their services following the reintroduction of a 15 percent National Automotive Council levy on imported used vehicles by the Nigeria Customs Service.
In 2011 NAC had proposed 35 percent duty differentials between imported fully-built units and locally assembled cars. The proposal reportedly failed later.
However, few years after the introduction of the levy, the Nigeria Customs Service on Saturday reintroduced 15 percent NAC levy on used imported vehicles.
Speaking on the development, the Chairman of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited chapter, Abayomi Duyile, said the move could have an adverse effect on the sector.
He said, “As I speak to you now, the NCS has reintroduced the NAC levy, which is a 15 percent payment on used imported vehicles. That is a major issue; it means an additional 15 percent on the duty we are paying currently”
Duyile said he was surprised the service was coming up with the levy in the second quarter of this year.
“We will meet tomorrow and when we do, we will make our views known to the government. What we have in Nigeria are assembly plants, it is not as if we produce any vehicles completely in Nigeria. I am surprised now that towards the second quarter of 2022, the Customs is coming back again with the NAC levy.
“Why should the NAC levy be on used vehicles? I don’t know why they are coming up with the NAC levy again now. The Customs didn’t inform us, so we have been advised to stop the process of duty payment until this is sorted out. This is everywhere for now and anywhere you are clearing used vehicles, you will face the same problem.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, PTML Chapter, George Okafor, said the outcome of the association’s meeting with its members will determine whether the agents would embark on the proposed strike or not.
“This is wrong because there is no way Customs can calculate NAC levy on used vehicles. It should be for new vehicles. The levy is for new vehicles, and not old or used vehicles. We will have to meet with the Customs command to determine the next line of action.”
Meanwhile, the National Public Relations Officer of Customs, Timi Bomodi, said the move was in line with the Economic Community of West African States Common external tariff, 2017-2021.
Bomodi said in a statement that the service in April migrated from the old version of the ECOWAS CAT to the new version, adding that this was in line with the World Customs Organisation’s five-year review of its nomenclature.
“On Friday, April 1, 2022, the Nigeria Customs Service migrated from the old version of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (2017- 2021) to the new version (2022- 2026). This is in line with WCO’s five years’ review of the nomenclature. The contracting parties are expected to adopt the review based on regional considerations and national economic policy.
“The nation has adopted all tariff lines with few adjustments in the extant CET. As allowed for in Annex II of the 2022-2026 CET edition, and in line with the Finance Act and the National Automotive Policy, NCS has retained a duty rate of 20 per cent for used vehicles as was transmitted by ECOWAS with a NAC levy of 15 per cent. New vehicles will also pay a duty of 20 per cent with a NAC levy of 20 per cent as directed in the Federal Ministry of Finance letter ref. no. HMF BNP/NCS/CET/4/2022 of 7th April 2022”
He added that the decision took immediate effect.
“In Chapter 98 of the current CET – bonafide assemblers importing Completely Knocked Down and Semi Knocked Down are to enjoy a concession of zero per cent and 10 per cent duty rate, respectively. While within ECOWAS, duty rates for the same items are five per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. Incentivising their efforts through policy interventions guarantees a win-win situation for the nation in the long run. Implementing the current CET takes immediate effect, please,” the statement added.
Unilever Nigeria to Focus on Higher Growth Opportunities by Exiting Home Care and Skin Cleansing Markets
Unilever Nigeria Plc, one of the leading Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies, has announced its decision to exit the home care and skin cleansing markets.
The company disclosed that the decision would only affect three of its brands – OMO, Sunlight, and Lux. According to Unilever Nigeria, the move is aimed at accelerating the growth of the organisation and sustaining profitability.
The restructuring of Unilever Nigeria’s business model is in response to the tough business environment in Nigeria, where many organisations and individuals have found it difficult to access cash due to the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Unilever Nigeria’s Managing Director, Mr Carl Cruz, noted that the offloading of the home care and skin cleansing portfolios would enable the company to “concentrate on higher growth opportunities.”
Unilever Nigeria has a strong competition in the business categories it is exiting. However, the company’s products are also market leaders in the sector. Mr Cruz added that the company was repurposing its portfolio by gradually exiting two categories, home care and skin cleansing, affecting only three brands (OMO, Sunlight, and Lux).
This would allow Unilever Nigeria to drive the rest of its brand portfolio for growth into the future and strengthen business operations with measures to digitize and simplify processes.
Unilever Nigeria is a truly Nigerian business and the oldest serving manufacturer in the country. The company’s decision to exit the home care and skin cleansing markets is in line with its commitment to adapt to changing market circumstances and reposition itself to better meet the needs of its consumers, shareholders, and employees.
Mr Cruz said, “By making these changes, we will unleash the sustained and profitable growth we need to be here for the next 100 years as well.”
Merger and Acquisition
Access Bank Zambia Granted Approval for Atlas Mara Zambia Merger
Access Holdings Plc has announced that its subsidiary, Access Bank Zambia Limited, has received final regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Zambia for the acquisition and merger of African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited (Atlas Mara Zambia).
The move is a significant step towards the creation of one of the top five banks in Zambia.
Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary of Access Holdings, stated that the latest development is a big step towards the earlier announcement made on October 25, 2021.
This approval comes after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Competition Commission granted their “no objection” to the transaction in 2022.
Access Zambia will now begin the process of integrating and merging Atlas Mara Zambia into its existing operations. The merger is expected to boost Access Bank Zambia’s position in the Zambian banking sector and create more opportunities for its customers.
Access Holdings Plc is committed to expanding its operations and presence in Africa, and this acquisition and merger is a testament to its efforts in achieving that goal. The company believes that this move will strengthen its position as a leading financial services provider in the region.
Dr. Herbert Wigwe, Group Chief Executive Access Holdings, while commenting on the transaction, said: “The transaction builds on our earlier acquisition and merger of Cavmont Bank Plc into Access Bank Zambia and underscores our resolve to strengthen our presence in Zambia, a key African market that fits into our strategic focus on geographic earnings growth and diversification”.
Merger and Acquisition
First Citizens BancShares Acquires Silicon Valley Bank’s Deposits and Loans in FDIC-Assisted Deal
On Monday, First Citizens BancShares Inc announced that it had acquired the deposits and loans of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) following its failure earlier this month.
This acquisition marks a significant step forward in addressing the global financial markets’ ongoing crisis of confidence.
As part of the deal, First Citizens BancShares will assume SVB’s assets including $110 billion in assets, $56 billion in deposits, and $72 billion in loans. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which took control of SVB, will receive equity appreciation rights in First Citizens BancShares stock with a potential value of up to $500 million.
First Citizens BancShares described itself as having completed more FDIC-assisted transactions since 2009 than any other bank. It believes that the combined company will be resilient with a diverse loan portfolio and deposit base.
The bank’s statement also noted that its prudent risk management approach would continue to protect customers and stockholders through all economic cycles and market conditions.
In addition to the acquisition, First Citizens BancShares will receive a line of credit from the FDIC for contingent liquidity purposes. Again, the bank will have an agreement with the regulator to share some losses on commercial loans to provide further downside protection against potential credit losses.
While analysts said the move was positive for financial stability and the venture capital industry, they noted that it only addressed the issue of deposits leaving smaller banks for larger banks or money market funds up to a point.
Redmond Wong, Greater China market strategist at Saxo Markets, said that “First Citizens Bank’s acquisition of the SVB loan book and deposits does not add much to solve the number one issue that the U.S. banking system is now facing.”
SVB’s failure was the largest bank to fail since the 2008 financial crisis. Its closure on March 10th caused massive market disruption and heightened stresses across the banking sector globally. The acquisition of its deposits and loans by First Citizens BancShares is a step towards stabilizing the sector and restoring confidence in the global financial markets.
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