There are strong indications that importers of used vehicles also known as Tokunbo have now resulted in the importation of accidented cars following the astronomical rise in the cost of imported second-hand vehicles popularly known as Tokunbo.
Importers of used vehicles said the cost of used vehicles have risen by over 100 per cent in the last six months as a result of the new policies on importation of used cars.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had in January 2022 introduced a new valuation system known as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation system used for allocating standard values to all vehicles coming into the country.
The system, according to Customs, automatically determines the value of import duty that an importer is expected to pay on any imported car immediately after the vehicle is passed through a dedicated scanning machine.
Similarly, the Service also outlawed the importation of vehicles above 15 years old, insisting that such vehicles are overage and prohibited from coming into the country.
Reacting to the rising cost of used vehicles, the President of United Berger Automobile Dealers Association in Lagos, Chief Metche Nnadiekwe, alleged that there is a calculated attempt to prevent those in the middle class from owning vehicles.
Nnadiekwe called on the federal government to urgently review the new policies on importation of used vehicles to protect the business of importers.
“I think there is a calculated attempt to black out the middle class from owning a car of their own in this country, otherwise a car that is supposed to be cleared with N600,000 is now cleared with N2.5 million and if there is delay, you will still have to pay for demurrage.
“With the demurrage you are clearing the vehicle with about N2.6 million. When you now add the vehicle cost, who will buy it, where would the middle class get the money? Before you sell a car now, it will take weeks, because you won’t see anybody coming to buy,” he said.
An auto dealer, Ademola Lukman, said Nigerians are already drifting from buyers of used vehicles to buyers of accidented vehicles.
He disclosed that many motor dealers in Nigeria now buy and repair accidented vehicles, which is a little bit cheaper than the non-accidented foreign used cars.
He urged the NCS to review the ban on ‘overage’ vehicles so as to allow more Nigerians the opportunity to own vehicles.
Responding, the National Public Relations Officer of the Service, DC Timi Bomodi, explained that customs duty is to implement Federal Extant Laws and that those behind the cry should channel the campaign to the government.
Bomodi said: “The new law pegged the age of used vehicle that is allowed into the country at 10 years. Anyone above 10 years would be seized out rightly.
“The importers requested that certain customs operations be automated and cannot turn around to now say a different thing.”