A frontline freight forwarder; Prince Ifeanyi Emoh, has blamed poor government policy and implementation as major reasons it will be difficult to properly implement the policy on old vehicles.
Recall that a couple weeks ago that the Customs Area Command, Ports& Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML) command, declared Multipurpose Vans (MPV) manufactured before 2003 as contraband because they are more than 15 years old from the year of manufacture till date.
Reacting to the development, Emoh who spoke to Shipping Position Daily at Tin Can Island ports in Lagos last week said that despite the fact that the policy has been on ground for a long time, you still see the vehicles coming in due to poor implementation of the policy.
He also explained that until the nation has enough car assembly plants, the nation will continue importing these vehicles, adding that Nigerians would like to buy new cars but they are not affordable.
“You still see them around, that is Nigerian policy for you the implementation is zero, all the ‘under-aged’ vehicles are coming in, they are coming in and duties have been paid on them and there are some logistics paid on them for them to go. Since we don’t have car manufacturing plants here in Nigeria we must continue with the importation until we have enough car manufacturing plants here. Nigerians enjoy new vehicles because everybody wants to drive a new car but because of the cost implication, that is why we go for all these tokunbo cars”.He also explained that, it is not for commercial vehicles and articulated trucks as they are exempted from the policy.
He also added that due to poor economy in the nation, many people are using vehicles classified as luxury vehicle for commercial purpose.
“The issue of underage has been on board for a very long time now but there are exemptions for vehicles that were meant for commercial purposes like the buses. This MPV buses are not part of the exemptions, they see them as luxury bused even as much as the Nigerian economy has turned them into commercial buses officially they are not. So if the Nigeria Customs service, PTML command decides to include them now, fine but officially the underage restriction still stands till date vehicles that are above 15 years of age are not allowed to come in. The age limit is mainly for private cars and jeeps, articulated trucks are not there, commercial purpose vehicles are not inclusive in the age restriction, it is basically on private cars and luxury vehicles. So any vehicles that are meant for commercial use like the MPV that you are talking about are not part of them. Toyota Sienna and all these ones are not commercial buses, but Nigerians are turning them into commercial vehicles but in customs standard they are not; that is why they have been declared as contraband”, he explained.
He also lauded the federal government for the ban on importation of vehicles through the land borders, stressing that it has boosted the importation of vehicles through the seaports.
“Talking about the importation of vehicles so far this year, I will say that it has always been on a tremendous increase since the closure of the land borders. All the importation of vehicles is now centered in the port, that is why you see high volumes of imported vehicles at the sea ports now. If only the land borders are functioning so many vehicles must have been smuggled through the land borders, it didn’t stop smuggling, but it has minimized it to a very reasonable percentage. Now you can pay duty at the land borders. So people that import through the land borders don’t pay duty, you must officially come to the seaport to pay duty. So anybody that you see coming through the land borders smuggled it. There was a time the government gave the people that imported through the land borders to come and pay their duty, but the grace period has passed”, he concluded.