Nigeria Bans Importation of Vehicles through Land Borders

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Hamid Ali, Custom boss

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The Nigerian government bans importation of vehicles through land border starting from January 1, 2017

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Dec 19, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT  |

AT last, the Nigerian government has decided to ban the importation of vehicles through the land borders.  A statement issued on Monday, December 5, by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, states that the ban was sequel to a presidential directive restricting all vehicle imports to the seaports with effect from January 1, 2017. The restriction on importation of vehicles follows that of rice, whose imports through the land borders had been banned since April 2016.

A statement signed by Wale Adeniyi, spokesperson for NCS, advised importers of vehicles through the land borders to utilise the grace period from now till December 31, to clear their vehicles landed in neighbouring countries’ ports.

Prior to the directive from the NCS, the government had on Friday, December 2, said at a forum of the automotive industry that it would ban the importation of vehicles through land borders and enforce the presentation of roadworthiness certificates on such vehicles from their countries of origin before allowing them into Nigeria.

Aminu Jalal, director-general, National Automotive Design and Development Council, said the directive was a means of controlling the influx of used vehicles, popularly called ‘Tokunbo’, into the country. He also said the federal government would soon release the details of its reviewed automotive policy, which will include stiffer measures on used vehicle imports. He said the review will be unveiled in the next six months.

The review is coming about two years into the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Jalal specifically said the government will introduce stringent regulations in the next three years to control the sale of imported used vehicles. He, however, said since used cars constituted about three-quarters of the total automobile market in the country, an outright ban might be difficult.

“We want people to have value for their money. There is no point buying a vehicle and from the first day, you are at the mechanic. We want to make sure these vehicles have roadworthiness certificate from their countries of origin,” he said.

The federal government under President Goodluck Jonathan introduced the auto policy in the last quarter of 2013, which included the imposition of 70 percent tariff on imported cars, both old and new. While importers of new cars are currently paying 70 percent of the cost of their vehicles as import duty, owners/importers of Tokunbo cars are only charged 35 percent.

Although the implementation of the other 35 percent import duty on used cars ought to have commenced last year, the government is yet to enforce it.

Stakeholders in the automotive industry comprising of manufacturers and owners of vehicle assembling plants had earlier called for strict regulation of the importation of vehicles, noting that poor implementation of the auto policy introduced by President Jonathan’s administration was driving down the volume of their products.

At the forum organised by the NADDC, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council and the Growth and Employment in States, a Department for International Development programme, called for strict regulations on the importation of vehicles.

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