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Sequel to the Federal Government’s announcement on importation ban, for both new and old vehicles, through land borders, there have been some mixed reactions with vehicle dealers, and other stakeholders in the transport sector, calling for its immediate reversal.

Although, Economic Analysts have argued that it will sporadically lead to the hike in the price of vehicles imported into the country, others have argued that it will boost local production, and create jobs for Nigerians.

Recall, that the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, had in a statement, said importers had up to December 31, to clear their vehicles in neighbouring ports, saying that the ban would take effect from January 1, 2016.
‎Amidst reactions, and counter reactions, some port operators have presently welcomed the ban, saying it would boost commercial activities, which were almost brought to a halt, as a result of crisis in foreign exchange.‎

The Operations  Manager, Ports and Terminal Multi Services Limited, PTML, Jack Angrish, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, said, the policy would have a lot of positive reaction in the auto sector.
“The spirit behind the ban, is to bolster domestic manufacturing, and vehicle assembly that have been at their ebb over the years.
“With proper monitoring, and enforcement of the measure, the country will garner more revenue from vehicle imports through the ports.
“The influx of vehicles through the land borders, has taken the shine off the vehicle seats in the ports,” Angrish said.
Based on his findings, ‎vehicle imports from the sea shores, had reduced from 30,000 to 6,000 in the last 8 months, with the attendant problem of loss of jobs by terminal officials.
Angrish added‎, “With the ban, importers will now route their vehicles through the ports, which is good revenue for the government.
“The policy will put a stop to smuggling of cars into Nigeria, and the revenue that hitherto accrued to ports of Cotonou, and Lome, will be back in Nigeria”.
In the same vein, the Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, STOAN, Mrs. Vicky Haastrup, backed the action.

She argued that if the move was well implemented by Customs, it would reduce smuggling of vehicles into the country, and revive the operations of Roll-On-Roll-Off, RORO, terminals in the country.
The RORO terminals, are specialised port terminals, that handle all types of vehicles entering Nigeria at the seaports.
Speaking further, ‎she urged the Federal Government, to scrap the high import duty regime imposed on vehicles by the administration of former President, Goodluck Jonathan, in 2013, saying it has been affecting the clearing of vehicles at the ports.
“In addition to this ban through the land borders, we appeal to the President, to return the import duties on vehicles to 20 percent, from the prohibitive 70 percent tariff, imposed by the former administration,” she said.
‎She lamented, that since 2014, when the 70 percent hike in the tariff of imported vehicles was made, 80 percent of vehicle cargo traffic was lost to the ports of neighbouring countries, just as 5,000 direct and indirect jobs at the affected ports were lost.
On the other hand, an Auto Dealer at Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, Femi Olawale, said the policy was a welcome development, saying it must be intended to control the quality of vehicles being imported.
He noted, that ‎the duty payable on import through land borders and the sea, was more or less the same, and the implication of the policy, was that vehicle buyers should be more careful in carrying out any purchase.‎
“From January, you have to check documents properly before paying, because people could forge documents, and give them to you as genuine,” Olawale said.
Another Dealer, Frank Okenwa, of U-CEE Autos Limited, noted that the government’s decision would discourage smuggling, because security would be invigorated.
“It is a good development. I don’t do Cotonou business, or Idi Araba. It supports border crimes. You can steal a car, and say you have cleared it. You can prepare documents, and so on,” he noted.
‎Okenwa speaking further, advocated the reduction of duties payable on new and used vehicles, as the scarcity of dollars, and high import duty, had pushed up their prices.

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