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Since December 2008, the very lucrative trade in second-hand vehicles imported from Europe is experiencing an unprecedented decline in Togo. The advent of the Togolese Company of Evaluation and Control (COTEC), and the increase of the customs taxes which followed, are at the origin of the significant decrease observed in the importation of the vehicles in Togo. Since the setting up of COTEC, the new find of DG Bidamon of the Togolese Customs, the traffic of used vehicles has strongly decreased. From more than 1000 cars released per week to the Sahelian countries, we fell today to less than 500 per week. At the level of local consumption, the decline is more remarkable. More than 500 vehicles a week before December 2008 are currently recording less than 50 per week.

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Most customers have simply abandoned the Port of Lome (PAL) to get their goods and vehicles through Cotonou Port in Benin, Tema in Ghana or Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire.
At the origin of the dissatisfaction of the customers, the increase of the customs taxes perceived by the COTEC on behalf of the general direction of Customs on the used vehicles. Indeed, in December 2008, customs officials introduced a used-vehicle computer evaluation system piloted by COTEC.
Decryption of the chassis number of the vehicles from the databases obtained in Europe, Asia or the United States makes it possible to establish the selling price of each vehicle on the international market. Then the customs value of the vehicles is calculated on the basis of this price already largely revised on the rise and then increased other expenses such as the FRET.
At the level of local consumption a rate of 53% is applied to the value given by COTEC to small cars. The rate applied is 43% for trucks and 35% for tractors (Titans). These very high customs values ​​make customers flee to other ports in the sub-region. The phenomenon is increasing day by day since some customers who have tried to experiment by paying these very high customs values ​​do not come back and the Port of Lome is emptying more and more.
“COTEC is no longer a big affluence. Customers fall into taste, “confirms a customs inspector who requested anonymity. But despite everything, the customs authorities do not decide to backtrack.
How many are the freight forwarders, the mechanics, the electricians, the painters … who find themselves, now unemployed since the General Direction of the Togolese Customs had this inspiration to innovate in the field of evaluation and control taxes on used cars by creating COTEC?
Indeed, the traffic of used vehicles has taken in recent years, a very large dimension given the audience enjoyed by the Port Authority of Lomé (PAL) from merchants of the sub-region. Thus many Togolese from various professional sectors such as freight forwarders, mechanics, electricians, painters and even touts had their jobs guaranteed in this “come” vehicle business. But suddenly, the creation of COTEC has made things go sour for them and today some of them owe their greetings to the driving of motorcycle taxis whose activity is becoming more saturated.