Importation of used vehicles into Nigeria has declined since the introduction of the Vehicle Identification Number, VIN, by the Nigeria Customs Service.
A member of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Ugochukwu Nnadi, disclosed this to our correspondent in a telephone call on Tuesday, claiming that the policy had made it difficult for Nigerians to afford second-hand or used vehicles.
“Yes, there is a drop in the importation of used vehicles generally. In fact, by the time those whose vehicles were already at the ports before this VIN valuation would clear all their products at the ports, the drop might rise further.
“Some people’s vehicles are already at the ports and they don’t have any option than to manage to bring them out.”
Clearing agents have supported Nnadi’s position, explaining that the non-exclusion of ‘accident’ or ‘accidented’ vehicles on the VIN platform for the valuation of imported vehicles and hike in foreign exchange had discouraged many importers from bringing in damaged vehicles.
The Punch had reported that most used vehicles coming into the country were mostly accidented.
The Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited Chapter Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, George Okafor, said that accidented vehicles were still being treated as normal vehicles, explaining that this could be the cause of the reduction in imports.
“The issue of accidented is not yet captured in the new vehicle registration, which has been the problem because ‘accident’ vehicles are still being treated as normal vehicles. As at now, there is no particular information on acciddented vehicles. What we are doing now is the vehicle registration system valuation, so there is nothing in the system for accidented vehicles for now.”
Also speaking, the TinCan Island Chapter Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Ojo Akintoye, blamed the hike in foreign exchange as the reason for the reduction.
“The reason is not far from the hike in foreign exchange rate. I bought a Toyota Corolla when the dollar rate was less than N500. I bought that for about $3000. Now, the same car is over $5000 with the hike in exchange rate. When you bring the car back to Nigeria, you will still spend money to buy spare parts and put the car in order. So, all these cost a lot of money.”
Reacting to this, the Customs Area Controller in charge of TinCan Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyode, said that the values on the imported cars were fair enough, noting that was a reduction in the importation of accidented cars.
“I saw the valuation officer recently and I was telling him that recently, I have not been seeing accident cars. This means our values are so good that no one is bringing accidented vehicles. We only go and remove the bonnet, do one or two things and call it an accidented vehicle.”
“There was a cry for accidented and salvaged vehicles. We input this in the system, but today nobody is coming to my office to ask for the value of accident and salvaged vehicles, which means whatever values we have given are acceptable to the stakeholders.”