By Steve Agbota
Motor dealers operating in the country have lamented that the rising cost of purchasing vehicles may double by next month if the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) fails to suspend the controversial Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
The NCS had announced 30 days suspension of the VIN valuation policy following outcry and strike action taken by agents and motor dealers in the country.
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However, in a chat with newsmen, the President Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria, Mr. Metche Nnadiekwe, informed that if the NCS fails to suspend the controversial policy, the cost of purchasing vehicles in the country would double stressing it will be difficult for the Nigerian middle classs to own cars.
Nnadiekwe informed that a Toyota Corolla that was usually cleared for N800,00 before the introduction of the VIN policy at Tin Can port is now being cleared for N1.4 million, he described the situation as worrisome even as he urged the NCS not to come up with the policy again.
“I don’t really know what our government enjoys in seeing Nigerians in tears. I believe before introducing certain policies, government should involve the stakeholders to come and make input. But it is strange to find out that after making decisions they will now come outside to tell us to begin to implement and after seeing reaction of the people they begin to call for stakeholders meeting, which is very wrong.
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The VIN policy is a monster, because I don’t know the kind of money that we want to make, when Nigerians are the ones to bear the brunt of the policy.
“If you force the dealers to pay a certain amount of money you will find out that whatever amount is spent to bring in that vehicle will be distributed among the buyers who will suffer it. The best thing is to suspend the VIN completely and not just 30 days suspension , because if they fail to scrap it, the prices of vehicles will double. There is tension in the land. If you go to Tin Can now, a different thing is happening because a car that is supposed to be cleared with N800, 000 is now being cleared with N1.4 million”.
“As a graduate, you ought to have at least two new cars, but you can’t even afford to get a tokunbo vehicle, talkless of new one, it’s just so pathetic” he said.
For his part, the General Secretary of Car Dealers Association, Mr Theo Olaniran, informed that the NCS had promised to come up with new guidelines on the VIN valuation, stressing that the guidelines will determine the cost of vehicles in months to come.
He added that vehicles are now difficult to get for the middle class while urging the Federal Government to consider guidelines that will be favourable to the masses.