NAC partners NSC on vehicle portal, new trucks for ports’ operation
THE National Automotive Council (NAC) is to strengthen its partnership with Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and others government agencies in the development of a portal for all vehicles imported into the country.
Speaking during a visit to the Executive Secretary of NSC in Lagos, Director General of NAC, Aminu Jalal, said the proposed vehicle portal is expected to play key role in the registration of vehicles in the country through the use of Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
He said NAC has opened negotiation with a South African bank on how to help stakeholders in the maritime sector, especially truck owners finance the purchase of new trucks.
According to Jalal, representatives of the bank have opened an office in Nigeria to aid acquisition process.
He described logistics as a very strategic component of the nation’s economy: “Logistics is very important in the auto industry. We are here to say thank you and seek the Shippers Council’s cooperation in building a portal that will house VIN numbers of all the vehicles imported and also produced in Nigeria”.
Explaining further, Jalal said: “By the time an importer pays the customs duty, it will be recorded against that particular car. By the time you register it, the name of the owner and the registration number will be included and if you sell it to somebody, it will be changed so that once you pick that VIN number and you go to the website, you are going to have complete data on the vehicle including when it was produced.”
He said the delayed implementation of the 35 per cent levy on imported used vehicles was to enable local assembly plants more time to roll out their products so as not to create gap between demand and supply.
Jalal said: “We all know that three quarter of the vehicle import is used vehicle. So, government did not want to raise the levy on used vehicles before the assembly plants produce more vehicles and the financing scheme is in place. That is why the minister was given approval to delay it until we meet certain conditions. That is why the full levy is not charged on used vehicles.”
In his submission, Executive Secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello pledged NSC commitment to give necessary support to NAC.
He said: “The VIN number is an information that should be contained in the bill of lading that will reveal the year of manufacture of a vehicle and it is the obligation of the Shipper to put that in the bill of lading and we are trying to see that this is restored for purpose for which you are creating the portal.
Jalal had while speaking with The Guardian recently, urged truck owners in the maritime sector to come forward with their request and specifications.
He said: “We (NAC) are ready to facilitate the transactions. Truck manufacturers such as ANAMMCO and NTM have started operations. Plans are under way for about eight more truck firms to start operations this year. Truck owners in the maritime sector should take advantage of this opportunity. We are ready to assist them with funding. We need to have their specifications. All goods come through the port. It is in our interest to see that port operations are not disturbed by broken down trucks. Prompt clearance of goods is also in the interest of the auto sector”.
Reacting to the clamour for improved standards recently, Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, said his members are making effort to adjust to the standards.
Ogungbemi said the initiative would encourage people to maintain their trucks, pointing out that it would impact on their business positively.
Jalal said NAC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the South Africa bank, adding that the maritime truck owners would be able to access loans at a reasonable lending rate.
He explained that the auto policy has mainly two objectives, “the first one is to bring back assembly companies and the second is to develop local content for these companies. The benefits to the Nigeria economy are many, of course, as it would create jobs and we would also save foreign exchange. It may be small initially but later, it would be a huge saving.
“Vehicles and their spare parts are already the second largest users of foreign exchange. So, if we can do something to reduce the volume of foreign exchange required by developing local content, it would be to our own advantage and benefit and then we can export to other neighbouring countries