Clearing Agents Laud Importation Of Damaged Vehicles, Say It Provides Jobs For Nigerians

An imported damaged vehicle being taken to the mechanic on Friday in Apapa

Freight forwarders have applauded Nigerian importers for importing mostly damaged vehicles in to the country; they say that such import is an indirect way of creating jobs for most of the country’s teaming artisans.

They also said that by bringing in damaged vehicles, it gives many Nigerians who do not have the financial capacity to own a new car to at least buy some of these damaged vehicles after they must have been repaired.

Speaking to Shipping Position Daily in Lagos last week, President of the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (ARFFN); Dr. Frank Ukor said that the high rate of importation of damaged vehicles into the country is caused by the poor state of the nation’s economy.

He also said that most Nigerians are longing to own cars, but lack the financial capacity to acquire one, even as he added that people are reacting to the prevailing economic situation.

“What will one say; we can only say that it is the state of the economy that is responsible? The state of the economy is very bad, how many people have the financial capacity to buy new cars. If people bring new cars they can hardly sell them and the damaged cars are relatively cheap.

When they bring them in here, jobs are created for mechanics, painters, electricians and all that. All these artisans have jobs to do. By the time they work on these vehicles they become almost new and they are sold at a cheaper price for people to buy. People who don’t have money for new ones will have money to buy these damaged ones and own cars”, he explained.

 He added that, “people are reacting to the state of the economy; they are acting based on what is on ground and what is obtainable. The situation on the ground is what we are reacting to, you see that it is cheaper to buy these cars, bring them here and provide jobs for our people and live goes on. Probably when the economy improves and money is available they can think of bringing in new cars for people to buy”.

He described the importers of these vehicles as being wise describing the rate of vehicles importation into the country in the first quarter of 2018 to be very low.

“But as it is now I think the people that are bringing these cars are very wise, I am not going to condemn them I am going to applaud them for that wonderful initiative. Talking about the rate of vehicle importation this first quarter of the year, I will say that the nature of the economy has affected everything”, he said. 

According to him, Nigerians are more preoccupied with providing for basic things. “What we are talking of is to eat food, have money to eat food that is the one that is more important now. People that bring in cars are looking for ways to make money”.

 “I read the other day that the money realized from Nigerian in diaspora runs into Billions of Dollars. Nigerians outside bring in these vehicles, and when they are repaired a lot of people will buy for the comfort of their families”, he said.

Also speaking, the Public Relation Officer of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarder (NAGAFF) Mr. Stanley Ezenga, lauded importers of damaged vehicles saying that they are proactive in their thinking.

He also said that those vehicles when imported will create jobs for our local technicians here in Nigeria.

“Well, those vehicles are imported as salvaged vehicles and when they come here, they more or less create jobs for our local technicians.

Because those vehicles will not be driven like that and that create jobs for our people here to make the vehicles motor able”, he said.

 He explained further that, “if there is an increase in the importation of damaged vehicles, that means our importers are proactive in their thinking. Because it will even cost them much to bring in new vehicles; whereas they can bring damaged ones and they know that some people here will add value to those vehicles and then earn their living. I think it is a welcomed development”.

Meanwhile the Apapa chapter chairman of (ARFFN), Mr. Jones Idemili, said that most importer s are claiming to have imported damaged vehicles because they don’t want to pay the complete duty. 

He also called for the review of automobile policy, saying that it is long overdue for review.

“Well I don’t know, I am not the importer but maybe some of them want to evade duty. So they hide under the damaged car, but most of the vehicles I have seen so far I don’t think they are damaged. But maybe some people are manifesting it just to evade duty. People that want to evade duty will now hide under damaged car to do that. You know some importers are very crafty, you cannot predict them. The automobile policy is good, we have had series of seminars because of that, but I think by now it is supposed to have taken up.  There is need to review the policy because what we are seeing now is not what we bargained for”, he argued.