Since the introduction of the Vehicle Identification Number, VIN, by the Nigeria Customs Service, the importation of used vehicles into Nigeria has drastically declined. This information was disclosed by a member of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Ugochukwu Nnadi. He claimed that the policy has made it difficult for many Nigerians to afford second-hand or tokunbo cars.
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He stated, “yes, there is a drop in the importation of used vehicles generally. The drop might rise further when those whose vehicles were already at the ports before this VIN valuation would clear all their products at the ports.
“Some people’s vehicles are already at the ports, and they don’t have any option than to manage to bring them out.”
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Many clearing agents have supported Nnadi’s position, explaining that the non-exclusion of “accidented” vehicles on the VIN platform for the valuation of imported vehicles and the hike in foreign exchange had discouraged many importers from bringing in damaged vehicles.
According to the Ports, & Terminal Multipurpose Limited Chapter Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, George Okafor, “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. As of now, there is no detailed information on accidented vehicles. We are now doing the vehicle registration system valuation, so there is nothing in the system for accidented vehicles.”
Also, 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 the 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 the exchange rate. When you bring the car back to Nigeria, you will spend money to buy spare parts and put the car in order. So, all these cost a lot of money.”
The Customs Area Controller in charge of TinCan Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyode, reacted 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 was telling him that I have not seen accident cars recently. This means our values are so good that no one is bringing accidented vehicles. We only 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 accidented and salvaged vehicles, which means whatever values we have given are acceptable to the stakeholders.”