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Customs begin implementation of 30% duty waiver on passenger vehicles

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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 holds car-free day, residents to go cycling, walking Sunday

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Residents of Lagos on Sunday (tomorrow) are expected to take to trekking and cycling as the state observes car-free day.

The Lagos State Government said this in a statement, adding that the programme would be organise in collaborating with the Lagos Urban Development Initiative (LUDI).

It stated that the event was to encourage road users and motorists to park their cars for a day and take up active and inclusive means of transport such as cycling and walking known as Non-Motorized Transport (NMT).

It stated that traffic would be diverted around Alausa/Ikeja as cyclists would utilise Governor’s Office Road, through Mobolaji Johnson Ave, Billings Way, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Aromire, Adeniyi Jones, and Oba Akran Way for bicycle ride to mark the event while about 400 metres of the Governor’s Avenue will be closed for the event.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, said the aim of the initiative was to create awareness about the benefits of NMT, which include reduced environmental pollution.

The commissioner who was quoted in a statement by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Mrs Bolanle Ogunlola, added that the initiative would reduce insufficient physical activity and sedentary behaviour to promote health of the people regardless of their ages.

He cited the significant drop in air pollution recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, when movement was curtailed and many private cars and public vehicles were off the roads, which he said resulted in reduction of vehicular carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

This, he stressed, helped in improving the quality of air, as well as increase in physical exercise and improved health practice.

Oladehinde said, “Vehicular emissions have now become a global issue. In Nigeria as well as other developing countries, 25% of the air pollution problems are as a result of automobile exhaust.

“This is very evident in the number of unroadworthy, smoky vehicles plying our roads on daily basis, causing not just health issues but visibility problems and sometimes accidents.”

He also said the event would  provide cities and governments an opportunity to do more in advancing public transport systems which could be run more efficiently through provision of viable, reliable alternatives to the cars in the urban areas, as well as implementing NMT with walking, cycling and inclusive mobility given priority.

Oladeinde said the event being coordinated by the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation along with other Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Lagos Urban Development Initiative was necessary to continuously enlighten the citizenry on the importance of environmental health.

He urged motorists to prepare to join the rest of the world in observing the Car Free Day.

The commissioner disclosed that hundreds of people are expected to convene at the Alausa, Ikeja venue where many fun and exciting activities such as cycling, cycling training, cycling competitions, skating, stretches, music, dance would hold.

 

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Auction: Lagos Assembly reviewing traffic law, says Justice commissioner

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The Lagos State House of Assembly is currently reviewing the state Transport Sector Reform Law (2018) for amendment, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo, has said.

He said this on Tuesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

It was a reaction to the criticism that greeted last Thursday’s auction of vehicles impounded for traffic offences by officials of the state government.

Onigbanjo said, “The Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law is currently being reviewed by the state House of Assembly and amendments will be in place as soon as possible.

“This issue of driving against traffic has become such a nuisance, such a danger, and such a menace to society that something drastic has to be done, and the legislators at that time imposed these penalties.

“There is a process to amend the law so people can go up to their representatives in the state house of assembly and make agitations that in our view, this is draconian and we think you should change the law. That could kick-start the process but ongoing right now, there is a process to review the law.”

There has been public outcry after abandoned and impounded vehicles were auctioned last week by the Lagos State Government at the Task Force Yard, Ikeja.

Some of those who attended the public sale included drivers whose vehicles were seized for disobeying traffic laws.

The event was filled with different dramas from bidders and businessmen who came solely for business purposes.

The Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018 states that anyone who drives in a direction prohibited by the law or neglects traffic direction will have to forfeit the vehicle as a fine and, in addition, serve one-year imprisonment for a first-time offender and three years imprisonment for second-time offenders.

 

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Ford innovates using pedestrian Bluetooth to alert drivers

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Smartphones are fast becoming more connected to cars, with the latest Apple iPhone and Apple Watch capable of detecting a crash and calling for help.

Now, Ford is taking smartphone integration to a new level, according to a new report by Carbuzz, an online auto news portal.

Ford’s latest experimental solution could offer pedestrians a mobile app to better alert motorists to their presence. The technology would use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and complement the company’s Co-Pilot360 system.

The automaker is involved in a research project that will help keep pedestrians and cyclists safer by using their smartphones to better spot them on the road, even when cameras, radar, and LiDAR can’t see them. the Blue Oval, an authority on Ford, states.

The automaker is doing this in collaboration with Commsignia, PSS, Ohio State University, T-Mobile, and Tome Software.

The idea is that the Bluetooth signal emitted by a smartphone would act as a beacon that the Ford vehicle would be able to detect without the vehicle’s SYNC infotainment system even pairing with that device.

It is noted that because Bluetooth radio waves do not rely on line-of-sight detection like cameras or radar, it would be possible to detect a potential accident even when the individual or cyclist is hidden behind a building or other obstruction.

This initiative from Ford is considered a great idea because Bluetooth low energy technology is already widely used in innumerable gadgets and devices, the basic infrastructure to make this work already exists.

It also would not require any hardware changes to new Ford vehicles that introduce this new form of pedestrian and bicyclist detection technology.

The system, according to Ford, is capable of differentiating between pedestrians, cyclists, and others based on their travelling speed and can continually evaluate their risk by monitoring their direction of travel.

For the idea to work, the pedestrian or cyclist is required to have Bluetooth active.

Executive Director, Research and Advanced Engineering, Jim Buczkowski, said, “Newer Ford vehicles already with Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology can detect and help warn drivers of pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter riders and others – and even apply brakes if drivers do not respond in time.

“We are now exploring ways to expand vehicle sensing capability for areas drivers cannot see, to help people drive even more confidently on roads increasingly shared by others using their two feet or two wheels.”

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s data estimates that traffic fatalities increased 13% in 2021 compared to the year before, while bicyclist traffic fatalities have increased 5% to 1,000 in the same period, and 2022 is already looking worse.

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