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Group seeks reduction in age limit of imported used vehicles

By Adaku Onyenucheya
27 June 2022   |   3:24 am
The Advocacy for Maritime Development Association of Nigeria (AMDAN) has decried an increase in duty on imported used vehicles manufactured before 2012 to match with those manufactured in 2013 and upward.

[FILES] Imported vehicles

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The Advocacy for Maritime Development Association of Nigeria (AMDAN) has decried an increase in duty on imported used vehicles manufactured before 2012 to match with those manufactured in 2013 and upward.

This is just as it called on the Federal Government to reduce the age limit of imported used vehicles to 2010 to enable the middle-class to own cars.

Recall that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had announced changes in the age limit of vehicles coming into the country from 15 years down to 12 years, warning imported vehicles older than 12 years shall be impounded.

While fielding questions from journalists at a roundtable forum of the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) in Lagos at the weekend, the President of AMDAN, Oluwasegun Alabi, kicked against the policy and called for a review.

According to him, the system will put many importers out of business, as newer vehicles are not affordable to the middle class.

He noted that in the past weeks it has been difficult, especially for those that bring in underage vehicles, which the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy does not recognise.

“If you bring in a 2008 vehicle and in the VIN, the minimum age starts from 2013, you are going to pay 2013 duty for the 2008 vehicle.

“That is the problem we are still having because there is no place for 2008 vehicles on the VIN platform, hence they still need to get a manual valuation, which is not good,” he said. He disclosed that the group has sent its position paper to the Federal Government on the need to ensure that underage vehicles get the right duty.

Alabi called on the government to reduce the age limit of imported fairly used cars to 2010 due to the high cost of locally manufactured cars.

He also urged the government to provide a level playing ground for both imported and locally manufactured vehicles so the public can decide their choice based on their purchasing power.

“2008 vehicles are still very good in shape and move on the roads. Nigerians can still afford this. Banning the importation is preventing the average Nigerian from owning a car, but promoting only the elites to have cars.

“We have individuals, especially young boys who specialise in underage vehicles. For the fact that government has cancelled importation of those vehicles, these boys will be out of job automatically,” he said.

Alabi also frowned on the level of preparedness of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) towards the takeoff of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement, saying the agency is not ready at all. He said the bottlenecks in the clearing of cargoes at the ports and border posts will hinder the smooth take-off of AfCFTA in Nigeria.

The AMDAN boss listed the bottlenecks to include the multiple number of alerts by the Customs on clearance of goods, which he said are too many and should be harmonised.

According to the freight forwarder, the process of subjecting the same container and truck to different checks is time-consuming and should be harmonised for the interest of the industry.

He also lamented the jacking up of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), which he said freight forwarders will not accept as it contradicts the international standard by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) policy.

Meanwhile, the AMDAN boss decried the lack of sustainable policies and legislation on indigenisation of the freight forwarding sector, as well as government support, which he said, has given room for foreigners to take over the business, while locals are kicked out.

“Foreigners taking over port businesses in the country is giving indigenes a lot of concern. This is because of the level at which the government has reduced what we are doing and the lack of support for the freight forwarding sector for our nationality,” he lamented.

He said the law that mandates foreigners to have Nigerians on their boards whenever the set up businesses in the country has further compounded the problem of multinationals dominating the freight forwarding market.

“As of today I have lost three of my customers to Maersk logistics and Medlog and I am in pain. These foreign companies are bigger in terms of having all the capacity. If you ask Med Logistics to move 500 containers within two days, they have the money and equipment, whereas I don’t have that,” he said.

Alabi pointed to what is obtainable in Cotonou where only locals operate in their ports, adding: “you cannot go there with a Nigeria-issued licence to clear vehicles at their ports, you will have to look for their indigenes to facilitate it for you. This enables them to block capital flight, their money is invested back into their country and employment is circulated to their indigenes.”

Alabi charged the National Assembly to put into action a bill that promotes indigenisation in the maritime industry, as well as protects locals who are going out of business due to domination by foreign operators. He also urged indigenous businesses to form a synergy and fight the dominance of foreigners in the freight forwarding business.

“We need to bring our money together to fund big projects so that when the foreigners come and put their cards on the table, we also put ours. That is how to fight them through mergers,” he advised.