Just like it did with parboiled rice, the Federal Government on Monday announced a ban on the importation of all types of new and used vehicles via the nation’s land borders. Those class of vehicles must now come in through the seaports. The prohibition order takes effect from 1st January 2017.
Spokesman of the Nigeria Customs Service, Wale Adeniyi, who disclosed this in Abuja said the prohibition order was sequel to a presidential directive restricting all vehicle imports to Nigeria seaports only.
“The restriction on importation of vehicles follows that of rice, whose imports have been banned through the land borders since April 2016. Importers of vehicles through the land borders are requested to utilize the grace period up till 31st December 2016 to clear their vehicle imports landed in neighbouring ports”, Adeniyi stated.
The ban is already eliciting positive responses from members of the maritime community, with importers and agents describing it as a welcome development.
For about 18 months, government’s revenue via tariffs and taxes on imported vehicle imports via the Roll On Roll Off (RORO) terminals (dedicated for vehicles only) has continued to nosedive.
The TCIP Ports in Apapa, Lagos, had continued to lay-off staff as the company continued to record steady decline in RORO vessels at the terminal.
The National Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC), Osita Chukwu, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun said: “We welcome the announcement whole-heartedly. Government has been losing revenue via land borders because they don’t pay full duties and most are smuggled. But with this, it’ll help a great deal. You’ll declare the vehicles and pay the right charges. If the attraction to neighbouring ports is the lower tariffs, then Nigeria can lower the tariffs here as well,” he said.
A car importer, Uche Muoka, urged the government to tighten security at land borders to ensure smuggling is reduced.
“It’s good to know vehicles now come into the country only via the seaports. Government can track and capture full revenue. No more land borders. Standards can now be enforced,” he noted.