There The number of imported vehicles entering the country through Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited fell by about 40 per cent between January and October this year compared to the same period last year.

While a total of 192,287 vehicles entered Nigeria in the first 10 months of 2021, only 114,159 vehicles were imported through the same terminal during the same period in 2022. The terminal handles most of the vehicles imported into Nigeria.

Only 122 vessels will berth at the port from January to October 2022, compared to 167 during the same period last year, according to a document obtained exclusively by this newspaper reporter from Mohammad Yakub, the customs public relations officer in charge of the PTML terminal. Ships moored. year.

The document also showed that the terminal recorded a total of 30,560 containers in the first 10 months of 2021, compared with 24,181 during the same period of the current fiscal year. The figures point to a severe drop in activity at the terminal, known to be a ro-ro terminal in Nigeria, with almost 85% of imported vehicles entering the country.

Clearing agents operating in the country’s maritime industry blamed the decrease on inconsistent government policy and the newly introduced vehicle identification number for clearing imported vehicles.

Mr Thomas Alor, chairman of the PTML branch of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, also blamed the drop on the government’s tax on imported cars, adding that the VIN did not give them what they were paid for.

He said: “The tax they put on importing used cars is affecting car imports. What’s causing the drop in vehicle imports is the clearance value. The VIN valuation doesn’t give us the value we’re paying now.

“What makes the value high is the tax on old cars; that’s why these vehicles are expensive to clear customs. When we started the VIN valuation, we paid the normal duty as a percentage of the duty until the government now taxed old cars, which Now the price has been raised.”

While he acknowledged that taxes had been levied before, Alor said the levies would be no more than 5%, compared with the 15% that clearing agents are now required to pay.

He said, “The levy has always been there, but it was below 5%, but now it’s about 15%. Whenever we approached customs about the value, they would tell us that we asked for the VIN. We said yes, we asked for it. VIN, but VIN was not articulated the way we asked them to; they taxed it later, and the high tax made the value go up.

“Right now, some ships are only equipped with 45 cars; Introduced, vehicle imports dropped dramatically. At PTML sometimes nothing happens, people just play here. Some vehicles pass through other terminals as containerized cargo.”

Imports have fallen by more than 40 percent, said George Okafor, a former president of NAGAFF’s PTML chapter.

Okafor said, “Our car imports have decreased by almost 61%. This is not news anymore. It is very clear and public. As I’m talking to you right now, it’s hard to get VReg, you can’t access anything without it. So, it’s all about making it difficult for goods and vehicles to get through customs; it’s not something hidden.

“We’re in a situation where a ship will come and will carry almost everything in Cotonou, and our small boats here are going to have a hard time clearing customs.”

He said that cleaning up small vehicles that cost about N500,000 now requires more than N1m, which is the reason for the high cost of cars in the market.

Okafor added: “The VIN is still affecting us because some vehicles have a high value. You know Nigerians are very dependent on older cars because they are cheaper. Most rich Nigerians like premium cars, you know in Nigeria , you are either in the upper class or in the lower class. Upper class people buy vehicles from 2018 and they have the ability to clean them, but lower class people are very dependent on old cars. And those old cars are very expensive to clean now ; Vehicles that we used to clear for N500,000 or N600,000 are now going up from N1m.

“The cheapest cars like the Toyota Corolla are now very expensive to clean up. So, when you calculate the cost of buying, shipping and customs clearance here in Nigeria, you can see that this car is going to be expensive for the middle class. And this car Will hang, because you’re paying the same as a 2014 model of the same car, making it hard to buy.

“So the people who are importing these cars are not even keen to start the business anymore; a lot of people probably don’t have the money to buy a car if they bring it in. If you go to PTML at Mile 2, there’s almost no one there because of all these small Vehicles all go through there, and TinCan is where the executive vehicles go through. So, you can see how that affects the whole thing.”

Abayomi Duyile, president of the PTML branch of the National Standing Council of Chartered Customs Agents, said: “The VIN and the 30% levy is the root of the whole problem. You know when they introduce the VIN, which is part of what we said earlier, it causes problems , but Customs introduced it saying it would make their work faster etc. About a month after they rolled out the VIN, they brought in the 30% contribution from the National Automobile Council, we protested, and they’ve now removed it and levied it instead Tax.”

“So, through all of this, you find that more than N2m has been added to the price of the vehicle. When (former president Olusegun) Obasanjo was there, they allowed 15-year-old vehicles to come in, but now customs In their own wisdom these are old cars.For example, now a 2008 model car has been sorted with a 2013 model car in terms of duty payment.

“So when you bring in a 2008 car and you’re paying taxes on a 2014 model, it’s going to be very expensive. So when you liquidate a 2008 in Nigeria at 2013 or 2014 prices Year model vehicles, you can go bankrupt because you can’t sell such vehicles for cheap when you’re liquidating at 2014 rates; that’s why you’re seeing PTML drop.

“When you say that importers of cars in 2005, 2006 and 2009 should pay the same tariffs as they did in 2013, those are the two major issues, and that’s not done anywhere else in the world. So, you can imagine those affected by the system People, some of their vehicles are still in port as we speak; some have also abandoned their vehicles because there is no need to waste money cleaning vehicles that you cannot sell. It will take time to sell what has been cleared.”

dealer laments

Meanwhile, car dealerships are bemoaning a severe drop in footfall as cars now appear to be beyond the reach of the average Nigerian.

A car dealer at the Berger Auto Market in Lagos who calls himself Chinonso Stainless told sunday punch Compared to the past, most dealers recorded hardly any customers for several months, especially as Christmas approached.

He said, “My brother, again, nothing is happening here because of the high tariffs; again not many people bring cars in. So, there are fewer cars on the market and the prices are high; buyers are showing up at a very low rate.” Low. Patronage is not what it used to be and people hardly buy cars now.

“The 2003 Toyota Corolla that used to be priced at N2.5m is now priced at N3.5m while the 2010 model of the same model is priced at N4.8m. So, we beg the government to reduce the tariff on the car because once the tariff is reduced, the price Definitely going down.”

John Paul, another dealer, said: “People now prefer to buy Nigerian used cars rather than foreign used cars; even so, Nigerian used cars are expensive. clean Nigerian used cars; that’s what cars cost now.”

Metch Nnadiekwe, president of the Nigerian Automobile Dealers Association, did not answer the phone at the time of filing this report.

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