Fresh indications have emerged that about five years after the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan introduced the Auto Policy in 2013 which increased tariff on imported vehicles to 70%, importers have now found solace in importation of damaged and ravaged vehicles from abroad.
Custom sources confirmed to our correspondent that 70% of vehicles imported through the ports are damaged vehicles.
In a recent interview with Shipping Position Daily, Customs Area Controller of Tin Can Island Customs, Comptroller Musa Baba Abdullahi said importers have resulted into importing ‘accidented’ vehicles in order to enjoy 30% rebate in duty.
Speaking with our correspondent last week, an operator at PTML Terminal; one of the largest vehicle terminals, Mr Ugochukwu Nnadi said that three years after the Auto Policy of the federal government, importers are now going back into importation of vehicles and this is why there is an increase in vehicle importation at PTML terminal.
Nnadi, a chieftain of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) however noted that presently, no importer goes to Europe or America to buy a new standard vehicle and bring it to Nigeria, he said this is because the vehicles are usually over-valued and over-taxed by Nigeria Customs Service.
He said "Importers are now going back into importation and this is why there is an increase in importation at PTML"
"The auto policy of 2013 put so many people out of business, I personally lost about N14Million to that policy, but five years later, people are now going back into importation, people have started adjusting to the current situation"
"No matter the exchange rate, whenever there is a change in government policy, people are affected"
"Imported vehicles in Nigeria are highly over-valued, from the manufacturer standard and World Customs Organisation standard, every vehicle losses ten percent of its value every year, after three years, the value you place on that vehicle is just your own imagination, but you see vehicles that are 15 years old coming into Nigeria and they are over-valued, and the amount the customs give is more than the price the used vehicle is sold, so the other ones Nigerians can buy is the damaged vehicles, it is sold to them as salvaged vehicles, it is sold at giveaway price", he explained.
"Nigerians manage to bring it down here, they repair and sell"
But the Tin Can Customs Controller, Baba Abdullahi told Shipping Position Daily recently that for any vehicle to be considered accidented in order for it to enjoy the 30% rebate, the chassis of the vehicle, the airbag and other key components of the vehicles must be clearly seen to be affected.
"We discovered that some of these accidented vehicles are cheaper even from their countries of origin, and for some of the vehicles that they might want to sell thereafter, they might decide to bring these ones just to make some profit"
"If you go to the car parks now, most of the vehicles there are actually accidented vehicles and there is nothing customs can do about it, if tomorrow the federal government decides that customs should stop giving rebate on accidented vehicles, our own is to enforce fiscal policies in terms of trade", he stated.