Nigerian vehicle importers are now flooding the country with damaged used vehicles imported from Europe and America instead of new ones, LEADERSHIP can report.
Investigations by LEADERSHIP revealed that the massive importation of damaged vehicles can be attributed to the 30 per cent rebate importers enjoy on import duty for older vehicles and also the high customs duty placed on fairly used vehicles.
The auto policy introduced by the federal government during the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013 had prescribed 35 per cent customs duty on imported used vehicles and 35 per cent levy and 35 per cent customs duty for new vehicles.
Since damaged vehicles get rebates, over aged vehicles pay lesser customs duty to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) which unfortunately, affects the revenue profile of the service.
It was gathered that for any vehicle to be considered involved in an accident and qualify for 30 percent rebate, some very important components of the vehicles such as the chassis, air bags and a large chunk of the body, must be certified damaged.
LEADERSHIP recalls that in 2010, the federal government had raised the age limit of vehicles to be imported into the country from 10 years to 15 years to curb dumping of overaged and outdated vehicles into the country.
However, LEADERSHIP visits to the two biggest vehicle import terminals in Lagos; PTML Terminal and Five Star Logistics Terminal revealed that larger percentage of vehicles exiting the terminals gates are overage and damaged vehicles as against underaged vehicles.
Speaking in an interview with journalists recently, the general manager of PTML Terminal, Mr. Tunde Keshinro, said that the terminal is flooded with more of damaged and relatively low grade vehicles compared to what was imported in years 2012 and 2013, which was prior to the implementation of the federal government automobile policy.
Keshinro said that importers now import low grade, damaged vehicles and these are equally older models rather than newer models. He said, relatively, majority of the vehicles being imported are less than 2010 as their year of manufacture.
“We expect to see newer vehicles of 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018, and when I look at the set of vehicles coming into the country in terms of age, you would see few 2017, 2018 vehicles, they now appear to be for the super-rich and this shouldn’t be”, he noted.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said that the nation’s economy has witnessed an increase in the prices of vehicles by as much as 200 to 400 per cent in the last five years.
The LCCI also said that even prosperous corporate organisations have resulted to buying fairly used vehicles for official use, due to the hike in the prices of vehicles in the country.
Director-general of LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, who said this, last week in Lagos, also maintained that implication on operational cost is worrisome. He, however, said that from a logistics point of view, the high cost of vehicles in the country has taken a severe toll on the economy of the country, stressing that all aspects of the citizen’s economic and social lives have been negatively affected by this.
Effort to speak to the national Public Relation Officer of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Joseph Attah on why over aged imported vehicles are cleared by officers of the service at seaports proved abortive as text message sent to him was not replied as at the time of writing the report.
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