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Customs begin implementation of 30% duty waiver on passenger vehicles



The Nigeria Customs Service has commenced the implementation of a 30 per cent import duty waiver of passenger transport vehicles, despite criticism by indigenous automakers that the policy may put them out of business and lead to massive job losses.

Already a circular directing the NCS to begin the implementation and conveying President Muhammadu Bahari’s approval has been issued and is circulated across various commands and units of the agency nationwide.

The import duty reprieve covers aviation engines and spare parts and takes immediate effect.

The Presidential directive was conveyed through a circular from the headquarters of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Abuja.

It said the reduction followed the decision to prune applicable levies and duties on vehicles to mitigate rising transport costs and boost the mass transit industry.

The Deputy Comptroller-General, Trade and Tariff (T&T), T.M. Isa, signed the circular dated February 18 on behalf of the Comptroller General of the NCS.

The essence of the assent, according to the document, is to support the implementation of the 2021 budget of economic recovery which culminated in the changes of the fiscal framework in terms of the importation of automotive vehicles into the country.

The circular, with reference number: A HMF/BNP/CUSTOM/FA 2020/02/20 and dated 8 February 2021, was titled T&T/2021 Circular N0.5 Grant of the Presidential Assent of Finance Act 2020.

It read in part, “Pursuant to the assent by Mr President to the Finance Act 2020 to support the implementation of the 2021 Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience, certain changes to the fiscal framework regarding the importation of specific automotive vehicles into Nigeria have been introduced.

“These reforms are designed to reduce the applicable levies and duties on vehicles, mitigate rising transport costs, boost road transportation and mass transit industry. Arising from aforestated, Section 38 of the Finance Act, 2020 modified the First Schedule to the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET), Etc (Consolidation ) Act by amending applicable duties and levies as follows:

“a) Reduction of Import Duty on Fully Built (FBU) of Agricultural Tractors (HSHS Headings 8701 from 35 per cent to five per cent as applicable.

  1. b) Reduction of Import Duty of Fully Built Unit of Motor Vehicles for the Transport of persons (cars) (HS Headings 8703 from 35 per cent to five per cent as applicable.

“c) Reduction of Import Duty of Fully Built Unit (FBU) of Motor Vehicles for the Transport of Goods (HSHS Headings (HSBC Headings 8704) from 35 per cent to 10 per cent as applicable.

“4. Furthermore, the Act also introduces fiscal incentives for the Aviation Sector,” adding, “for the avoidance of doubts, airlines registered in Nigeria which provide commercial air transport services by owning or leasing aircraft are to enjoy free importation of aircraft, engines, spare parts and other components.”

The NCS official directed that the circular be widely circulated to ensure immediate compliance.

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Lagos will begin Fourth Mainland Bridge construction this year – Sanwo-Olu



The foundation for the proposed Fourth Mainland Bridge will be laid before the end of year 2021, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said.

He made this known on Friday in Lagos during the 16th Executive/Legislative Parley, with the theme: ‘A Consensus Agenda for Rebuilding Lagos’, which was organised by the Office of Civic Engagement.

He said that the government was determined that execute the Fourth Mainland Bridge, as it would improve movement in the state.

“We did not politically promise Fourth Mainland Bridge but we are going to do Fourth Mainland Bridge.

“With your prayers and by the grace of Almighty God, we shall turn the sod and lay the foundation for the building and construction of that Fourth Mainland Bridge before the end of this year.

“We are on course and I am sure that the 37km ring road is on track, which will change the face of transportation and movement in Lagos,” the governor said.

He said that his administration was on course to complete the two rail projects started several years back, both the Blue Line and the Red Line.

According to him, before the end of the administration, the project will be completed and trains will move on the two rail lines.

”It is a commitment that we have given to Lagosians and it is a commitment that we will see will come to fruition because we have finished the financial closure and we are excited about that project,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu also spoke on the theme of the parley, saying it came up as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the EndSARS protest mayhem on the state.

He said that with the level of destruction, there was no alternative to start rebuilding Lagos.

The governor stressed that all stakeholders in the development and growth of Lagos State would have to come together to share experiences and proffer solutions.

“In the next 48 hours, we shall be sharing ideas on how best to reposition Lagos, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, and of EndSARS destruction on one hand, and developing strategies to forestall youth restiveness on the other hand.

“We are working steadily towards achieving a Greater Lagos that will be a pride of all. As a government, we need to scale up our activities and work as a team so that we can continue to discharge our responsibilities with the ultimate goal of meeting the yearnings and aspirations of our people.”

Special Adviser, Office Of Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, said the discussion around the theme in the next 48 hours would help to fast-track the rebuilding of the state.

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Porsche set to stun auto world with 2021 Taycan ‘rocket’



Porsche is set to roll out a new Taycan Cross Turismo, a kind of versatile ‘rocket’, going by reports from multiple sources including auto spies and reviewers.

Autocar, for instance, says the car has entered its final stages of development, having been delayed until 2021 because of robust demand for the regular EV during the coronavirus pandemic.

It claims to have spotted new images showing a prototype stripped of all camouflage.

It also confirms that styling changes over the existing saloon model will be limited primarily to the extended roofline and reshaped rear end.

Expect the new car to have greater performance off-road, in view of its added ground clearance like the 2018 Mission E Cross Turismo concept on which it is based.

Porsche’s boss, Oliver Blume, says the estate variant of the Taycan was originally due to open for orders in late 2020 but was pushed back.

Although also says Porsche has yet to release full details of the car, it hints that it will feature subtle moldings around its wheel arches and the standard air springs will likely provide a more ground clearance than the Taycan sedan.

“We’ve yet to drive a production model, but we did get a brief stint in a European-spec prototype, which was in California for photography ahead of its on-sale date this summer,” it states.

The addition of a fifth door does nothing to affect the Taycan Turbo S’s performance credentials.

While the Turbo S’s drivetrain is just as quiet in the Cross Turismo as it is in the sedan, the open cargo area does seem to make the noise from the tyres slightly more audible. But it will also offer far more space than the sedan’s 16-cubic-foot trunk.

The auto reviewer says, “We expect the Cross Turismo model to weigh just slightly more than the Turbo S sedan. But any difference between how the two body types handle was undetectable on our short drive.

“The Taycan, unlike many other electrics, isn’t imbued with the type of strong regenerative braking when lifting off the throttle that allows for one-pedal operation. Porsche wanted the Taycan to feel much like its other models, which means using the brake pedal to engage the regen function and the very capable friction brakes.”

It also notes that the substance of the Turbo S model’s awesomeness centres on its two electric motors—one at the front axle and one just behind the rear axle.

Its review also read in part, “Filling the space between them is a tray holding 396 battery cells delivering electric current at 800 volts.

“In normal operation, that’s good for 616 horsepower, but activate the over-boost feature with launch control engaged and the output briefly jumps to 750 horses.

“Torque is simply astonishing, with 774 pound-feet present in overboost from the moment the motors start turning. From our previous testing experience, the Taycan Turbo S sedan warps to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds and obliterates the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds at 130 mph.

“A small reduction to the Turbo S sedan’s 192-mile EPA-rated range is expected.

“Let us acknowledge here that there is no actual boost involved in any electric car, and that the Taycan’s Turbo S modifier stems from Porsche’s glorious internal-combustion past (and present).

“There are no turbochargers in the Taycan Turbo S. If that bothers you terribly, but you still want a low-slung Porsche with an adult-habitable back seat, migrate across the showroom to the Panamera lineup. Those come with turbos.”


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Hyundai recalls Kona electric vehicles over battery fire risk



Hyundai has announced the recall of 76,000 Kona EVs built between 2018 and 2020 after more than a dozen reported fires related to the electric SUV’s battery pack.

This is the second recall of the Kona EV after the first global recall whose fault will cost Hyundai around $900 million to fix.

The Kona was also recently launched in Lagos and Abuja with fanfare and was followed up last week with the media launch of the petrol version.

Specifically, it says it is recalling some Ioniq EVs and electric buses built between November 2017 and March 2020 that use the same LG Chem cells.

In total, the automaker is recalling 82,000 vehicles, according a report by MSN Auto contributed by auto platform, The Verge.

Hyundai and LG Chem have decided to completely replace the batteries in these vehicles instead of trying to solve the issue through software updates, according to the Financial Times.

The recall is starting in South Korea, but Hyundai Motor North America told The Verge it would “be taking a similar action in the US and Canada.”

“We are working closely with NHTSA and Transport Canada on the recall and will communicate the details to affected customers shortly,” the company said.

Reports of Kona EVs catching fire date back as far as mid-2019, and at least 15 have been documented, including one vehicle that was already called in for repair.

The issue allegedly has to do with the material that separates the cell’s cathode and anode, though an official investigation in South Korea is still ongoing.

General Motors recently recalled nearly 70,000 Chevy Bolts that use LG Chem batteries after reports of fires, though the automaker clarified to InsideEVs that it uses a different cell than the one in the Kona EV.

News of the recall comes just one day after Hyundai unveiled the Ioniq 5 crossover SUV, which will be the first EV built on the company’s new electric vehicle platform.

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