Federal Goverment Bans Vehicle Importation Through Borders

Mixed reactions have trailed yesterday’s announcement by the federal government of its plan to ban the importation of used and new vehicles through the country’s land borders. The federal government had in a statement signed by the public relations officer of Nigeria Customs Service, Wale Adeniyi, said the prohibition order covers all new and used vehicles.

The ban is sequel to a presidential directive restricting all vehicle imports to Nigeria’s sea ports only. The order takes effect from January 1, 2017.

Adeniyi further explained that this restriction on the importation of vehicles follows that of rice, which imports had been banned through the land borders since April 2016. According to him, importers of vehicles through the land borders had been requested to utilise the grace up until December 31, 2016, to clear their vehicle imports that landed in neighbouring countries’ ports.

Auto dealers in the nation have expressed divergent views over the recent policy of the government. The chairman, Association of Motor Dealers in Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, Metchie Nnadiekwe, said the ban would fuel smuggling and increase crime rate.

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Smuggling will increase because the vehicles must come into Nigeria. I believe it was an ill-conceived idea by the government because if they had wanted the ban to work, they should have provided an alternative; but without an alternative, they placed a ban. I think government should prepare on how to combat smuggling because it will increase, he asserted.

Metchie also noted that the ban was too sudden and wondered why the federal government would want to encourage smuggling through its policies.

Importation of vehicles is not the problem of this country. The ban is too sudden and, before we begin to ban, we must make provision for certain things. I believe this ban will only encourage and increase smuggling whether they like it or not, because we don’t manufacture any vehicle here in Nigeria, he emphasised.

The managing director of Dubez Motors, Lagos, Ndubisi Nwabueze, spoke in similar vein, saying the ban would take the country back to the years of high smuggling of vehicles through the land borders. He queried why the federal government would introduce the policy when Nigerians who purchased vehicles at the borders pay their tariff, thereby swelling the revenue profile of border commands of the service.

This policy will take us back to the dark years when government banned the importation of vehicles through the land borders and smuggling activities increased. This policy will increase smuggling at the land borders.

It is an unfortunate decision that will put more hardship on the people because most vehicles imported through the land borders have their duties paid and this is evident in the revenue profile of border commands of the Customs Service, but with this decision, smuggling will be high because the demand for vehicles is high in Nigeria,” Nwabueze noted.

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But government’s move to ban the importation of vehicles into Nigeria through the land borders has its supporters, too. In his reaction to the new policy, the managing director, PAN Nigeria Ltd, Alhaji Ibrahim Boyi, described it as a step in the right direction. He added that such practice also made second-hand cars cheaper, which ultimately denied the development of auto plants in the country.

Source: leadershipng

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