Vehicle Imports: Nigeria Loses as Benin, Togo Gain by John Iwori

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Following the delay in implementation of the new auto policy, importation of vehicles, especially used ones popularly called tokunbo, has made Nigerian neighbours  gainers, THISDAY investigations have revealed.

Since the new auto policy was introduced last year, Nigeria’s neighbours such as the Republic of Benin, Togo and the Republic of Benin have continued to gain while the country  continues to lose millions of naira that would have accrued to the  government  in form of import duties on vehicles.

Already, tokunbo vehicles meant for the Nigerian market are now imported through the ports situated in Nigeria’s Republic of Benin and Togo.

Vehicles import into Nigeria has dropped to 50 per cent. Managing Director of Port and Terminal Multiservice Limited (PTML), Mr. Asconio Russo, who confirmed the development said the volume of vehicles being imported into Nigeria has dropped sharply due to implementation of the automotive policy.

Russo dropped the hint when the National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA),  Olayiwola Shittu visited PTML in Lagos.

He revealed that the volume of vehicles being imported into the country has reduced by half since the introduction of the auto policy and might even get worse when full implementation begins in April, 2015.

“I may not want to comment on government policy because it is not my prerogative but I can give you the figures. I can tell you that the number of vehicles being discharged all over Nigerian. I am not talking about our terminal alone but in the entire country has dropped 50 per cent. So the calculation is if the whole of Lagos was discharging 20,000 or 25,000 vehicles every month, it is like we are now doing 10,000 vehicles and these are the ones coming in through RORO.

“There are also some containers which have also disappeared. We have noticed that the number of vehicles coming into Cotonou has increased dramatically so we are losing business while Cotonou is gaining business. Everyone can understand what this means and we know that Cotonou’s population has not increase from 10 million people they were. This policy is dramatically affecting the port industry and this is affecting the overall population because the prices of vehicles are going up in the market and this is something we see every day.”

Shittu had told Russo that his association had always been critical of the auto policy because the implementation would affect the businesses of its members across the country.

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