Joel Nwosu (Former DG of ANLCA)
In a very stable and decent economy, we would have long been done with the issue of over-aged vehicles. In a very volatile economy like us, where the Naira exchanges at N360 to the Dollar, where the minimum wage of N30,000 is yet to be implemented, where there is massive unemployment, where the per capita income is less than a dollar, where the real income of the average Nigerian has dropped drastically, how many Nigerians under the prevailing circumstances can afford those cars which fall within the acceptable range. In a prostrate economy like ours, such developments are inevitable if we must sincerely grow our road transport industry.
Wale Odu (Talod Oceanair Freight)
It is pure wickedness on the part of our leaders, first of all, the Auto Policy we are practicing is a fraud on Nigerians, and they just increased duty on imported vehicles abruptly. The cars that most Nigerians are riding today are rickety cars because they are accidented, they cannot afford to buy the real car as a result of exchange rate, when you buy a new car, what you are going to pay as exchange rate is killing.
The customs close their eyes and allow some of these old vehicles to come into the country, because it is the only means that Nigerians are using to sustain themselves. Few Nigerians that have cars today, it is the same over aged car that they are managing, they use it for transportation and so on.
If Customs can reduce the duty on cars, everyone would gladly pay duty to the government; people want to buy good vehicles.
Segun Oduntan (Chairman, ANLCA Tin Can)
The Customs are implementing the restrictions on vehicle age limits, you can see a vehicle of 2005 that is still very new, the level of compliance is about 90 percent , if you look at it, even you, if God bless you and you decide to buy a vehicle, you would want to buy a very good vehicle with good chassis and accessories.
Most of the over aged vehicles you see on the road are used for transportation, you cannot go and buy a car of 2008 and use it for Uber, you will not be able to compete with others using a vehicle of 2004.
Muda Yusuf (DG, LCCI)
It is not about why overage vehicles are still being imported into the country, it is a question of ensuring we have more discipline in implementing our policies. Policies are put in place for a particular purpose and institutions of government that are supposed to ensure compliance should show more commitment in enforcing those policies. I think that is the simple response to that because ideally, it is not also good to allow our environment to be a dumping ground for all sorts of vehicles. I think the machinery for compliance should be effective and there should also be consequences for those who should ensure compliance, when they are not doing that, there should be consequences. It is a safety and environment issue because when you bring vehicles that are too old to the system, I mean it creates safety problems for citizens. Some of these vehicles people use as commercial vehicles and all sorts of things, the vehicles are already in a very bad state but because people who are supposed to ensure compliance are not doing their work, all sorts of rickety thing will be coming into the country.
Frank Ukor (AREFFN)
You know the situation of things in the country; over aged vehicles are the ones Nigerians can afford to bring in, to drive so that they can have cars. If they bring in latest vehicles, like 2017-2018 for instance, how many Nigerians can afford it? So that is the problem. They bring in vehicles that they can afford to clear and buy. And custom are making it easy for us, they know the condition of the country and they allow such vehicles to come in, because if they don’t, there will be problem on the clearing and buying. So I commend what the customs are doing in the area of allowing these vehicles come in.
Rev Jonathan Nicol (SALS)
If you look at the economic situation of the country of course you know we have a depot for used engines, where you can always buy engines.
When you buy body of cars, you will now but a better engine in them and you have a car to use. So, it is not that the over aged vehicles are all imported, some of them are refurbished when imported. Again, the failure of the government policy, the government has not been able to provide good transport system for her citizens and thereby making some Nigerians to have cars that are old. When they bring the over aged vehicles, the engines might not be good, what they need to do is to remove the engines and put another one and the car will be fine. So we don’t look at that as a threat to the government from the people.
Frank Obiegesi (ANLCA)
Why people still bring in the old vehicles is because when they bring it, they still have a way of clearing it, because we are staying in a system that is highly corrupt just like the items banned by the government; they still find their ways into the country through the same ports and customs. People bring in old cars because when they come in, they still have a way of clearing them even cheaper, I am into the system so I know what is happening. I will advice the government to remove that age limit, if they remove the age limit, demand and supply will automatically bring it down, and people will go for better vehicles. When you put the age limit people will see that it is more profitable and they will go for it.
Barr Michael Ovien (Customs Broker)
First and foremost, the over-age or underage vehicles are few in demand and since government are collecting revenue on it, it has become a legal entity. When government placed a policy on Vehicle in 2003 that the least vehicle to enter into Nigeria must not be more than 10years and the Association of Fairly Used Vehicles of Nigeria (AFUVON) then had to engage the then-Minister of Transport Ojo Maduake who then had a second opinion and increase the age of the vehicles to 15years and the important cooperated after government placed embargo immediately on some of vehicles the policy struck at the port then. We are talking about 2003 when you have to import only 10years vehicle from 2003 down to 1994 most of the importer that can not meet up with the demand of the government had to move to Cotonou and by 2006 the govt increased it to 15years ie 2007 to 1994. Many importers obeyed the govt policies because the NCS on ground had to enforce the law by means of holding different workshops meeting to sanitise the shipping companies not to allow and vehicle older than that agreed age to be brought or imported into the country and only Used Bus and Trucks can be any year of manufacture were allow, not until resent years like 2011 when President Jonathan assume office this gave room to policy breakers and the Shipping Company flaunted the law and started bring those underage vehicles. The NCS saw it and corrected it immediately that was when Space Buses were differentiated and I believed this has being controlled till date because if you as an importer brings in and underage or overage vehicles you shall be penalized for do that. So most importers till date prefers to bring into the country the recommended year approve by the government.