Duty hike, forex take Tokunbo cars out of Nigerians’ reach

Lyle Ellerbee

Given that the introduction of Cars Identification Selection method for the valuation of imported automobiles, the system has been riddled with controversies that have built cars just about inaccessible to ordinary Nigerians. In this piece, ANOZIE EGOLE  examines how the platform has elevated responsibility on imported vehicles by around 100 per cent, among the other difficulties

It is no for a longer time news that in a bid to assure uniformity of duties on imported utilized motor vehicles of the same 12 months, firm and model, the Nigerian Customs Support, in February 2022, launched the Motor vehicle Identification Selection for the valuation of imported automobiles.

Neither is it news that when the digital platform was recently introduced, it was riddled with so many controversies as freight forwarders and clearing brokers working at the nation’s maritime sector kicked versus it, expressing it was marred by hitches and inconsistencies.

What can make the news is that the system has led to an over 100 per cent maximize in obligations paid on imported applied vehicles, specifically all those whose designs are below 2013. This is coupled with the weakened naira value against bucks, which has even further driven up the prices of motor vehicles.

At the launch of VIN for electronic valuation of imported autos in February, a number of stakeholders voiced their displeasure about the Customs’ objectivity while pointing out that the values utilised did not properly element in annual depreciation as needed for used automobiles.

It will be safe and sound to say that the latest trade rate routine may well be fuelling the lower importation of motor vehicles experienced presently. It has designed autos, which are supposed to be necessities to residences, luxuries.

The Acting National President of the Affiliation of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Kayode Farinto, in an function a short while ago, expressed displeasure more than the hitches encountered with the VIN even as he raised worries that some automobiles had been but to be captured on the VIN platform.

He explained that the platform was selective in character, functioning nicely with normal chassis vehicles while not carrying out optimally with non-typical chassis vehicles.

“When the Customs’ VIN was remaining conceptualised, I was 1 of individuals that questioned that we have a pilot plan. But my assistance was not heeded by the Customs, which went in advance to commence complete implementation. Now, there are some types of autos that have not been captured underneath the VIN Valuation policy.

“There are some classes of automobiles that have not been factored in below the Customs VIN Valuation plan. Some Mercedes Benz, some ML, some X-Class have not been factored in the VIN valuation plan,” he famous.


When the Federal Government lifted the age restrict of automobiles from 10 decades to 15 several years in 2010, the intention was to control dumping of overaged and out-of-date automobiles into the region and stimulate the use of newer cars.

Regretably, the coverage did not go much as far more than 60 for every cent of Nigerians, specifically youths, nevertheless discover it extremely hard to obtain newer cars.

From all indications, it looks the governing administration is trying to actualise the coverage on new motor vehicles by means of the introduction of VIN.  Some freight forwarders opine that the introduction of VIN for automobile clearance is an oblique way of phasing out older automobiles as the age limit of automobiles on the platform is 9 years (2013).

The Ports & Terminal Chapter Chairman of the Nationwide Affiliation of Govt Permitted Freight Forwarders, George Okafor, instructed our correspondent in a chat around the weekend that autos beneath the 2013 design were being billed to pay 2013 duties.

“The problems are that autos from the 2012 design and downwards are however paying the responsibility of the 2013 model. The kinds that are less expensive now is even the responsibility we pay on the 2013 product. If you bring in a motor vehicle whose calendar year is decrease than 2013, you will be questioned to pay back for 2013. Cars reduce than 2013 will pay the obligation for a 2013 model, which would make the payment bigger. It is like the governing administration needs to stage out old autos, they want to discourage individuals from bringing in more mature autos.”

Talking even further, Okafor mentioned the challenge was mostly with Mercedes Benz and BMW vehicles, introducing that he was asked to spend over N3m for a vehicle whose obligation was meant to be N650, 000.

“The condition is impacting the clearance of cars. Quite a few people are abandoning their motor vehicles, mainly Mercedes Benz and BMW, simply because their obligations are incredibly higher. I have this 2003 Mercedes M-Class we paid virtually N3m to clear. The benefit I bought ahead of the arrival of the cars was all over N650, 000 as an aged auto. We expended nearly in excess of N3m to provide it out of the Customs and the port. The individuals that contributed funds to apparent the auto are stating that they will sell the car to get their dollars, even however they might not be in a position to recover their cash totally.  I had now collected the obligation for N650, 000 in advance of the arrival of the car but the car or truck did not enter Nigeria ahead of the introduction of the VIN. So, when the auto arrived and the VIN valuation commenced, they claimed it was N3m. So, you can visualize from N650,000 to around N3m.”

He observed that the predicament experienced pressured a great deal of men and women into abandoning their  cars at the ports, stating that it was the government’s possess way of receiving rid of more mature motor vehicles.

On his component, Farinto urged the federal government to overview the plan, stressing that most of these autos underneath 2011 were being made use of for e-hailing small business by youthful Nigerians.

“What I believe the govt need to do is to evaluation the plan. Be it as it may, it is the plan of the Federal Authorities and you really don’t hope the Customs to legitimise illegality. You can not see 2009 car in the technique the least you can see is 2013.”

According to him, the harsh financial system is 1 of the explanations why more mature cars are flooding the country.

“So, we are now telling them that the policy is 12-year-aged. They should bend backwards to 2011 and I assume they are working on that. So, if you thrive in bringing in something fewer than that, you really should be ready to pay out the responsibility of 2013 for a auto that is fewer than the 2013 design. The coverage is that personal motor vehicles coming into the nation can not be more mature than 12 yrs when business automobiles can be up to 15 many years.”

He even further stated, “It is the harsh financial state that has caused more mature motor vehicles to litter the nation. I am also of the viewpoint that the authorities can evaluation that policy so that it can fulfill the fascination of the youth, the recently utilized and those people that are going into commercialisation. This will, at minimum, make them self-employed. Even if you appear at the 2011 design, how quite a few men and women can find the money for it? My car is 2010 and it is about N7.5m. So, that is why the government really should seem at it and critique that plan.”

A car or truck vendor at the well-liked Berger car mart, who gave his identify as Chinonso Stainless, explained that the problem experienced taken a destructive toll on their corporations, noting that product sales experienced dropped.

“I need to tell you the truth of the matter, our gross sales have dropped. The types we are advertising for now are generally these that arrived in ahead of the introduction of VIN. But for cars that recently arrived in Nigeria, their charges are continue to pretty large, primarily for more mature motor vehicles underneath 2010, mainly because that is what we mostly use right here and that is also what we market quicker. So, it has not definitely been straightforward.”


Farinto lauded the administration of the NCS for letting non-chassis motor vehicles to be cleared from the ports.

“I want to commend the Customs for letting these non-chassis autos to be cleared because the Federal Government policy on vehicles to come into the region starts off from 2011 or thereabout. If the Customs desires to put into action the Federal Government’s policy, then automobiles that appear in in advance of 2011 will possibly be confiscated or seized.”

In his response, the National Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Assistance, Timi Bomodi, warned the agents that if they continued in their current behaviour, it could get to a place wherever they would start losing their vehicles.

“If they continue to keep pursuing that, it will get to a stage exactly where they will be getting rid of their cars. We are attempting to discover a gentle landing for them. The more folks toss mild on that point, the even worse the punishment will be.  They should just bear the strokes. The law has explained that this is the limit. If we implement the law to the latter, they will not have anything at all to say.”

He claimed, “What they are complaining about is a circumstance of a person that fully commited a criminal offense and was sentenced to death but the man or woman that was intended to execute him looked at him and reported, ‘I will give you 25 strokes of the cane.’ Thereafter, he gathered 25 strokes of the cane, appeared at the particular person that was meant to destroy him and mentioned, ‘Take it uncomplicated, do you want to destroy me?’ That is the story. You know individuals really do not realize the gravity of the points they do. We are making an attempt to aid them, but as an alternative of them preserving silent and bearing the strokes of the cane, they are complaining,” he concluded.

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