Sun News online has just reported the ban of all cars through land borders. It is difficult to see how this ban will affect the economic fortunes of a nation that is still yet to manufacture bicycles 100%.
The Federal Government took importers of vehicles by surprise yesterday when it banned the importation of vehicles through the land borders with effect from January 1, 2017.
However, the announcement has since elicited reactions from Nigerians. While some condemned the policy, others hailed the move.
However, stakeholders in the maritime industry yesterday hailed the ban, but they pleaded with the government to go a step further to reduce the tariff on those imported through the seaports.
A freight forwarder and the National Co-ordinator of Save Nigerian Freight Forwarders, Chief Osita Patrick Chukwu, commended the decision of the government to ban the importation of all types of new and used vehicles through the land border. According to him, the ban will create jobs for Nigerians and revive some ports that are redundant. He said that those who bring vehicles from the land borders are saboteurs
“But the government should go further to reduce the tariff and make the importation competitive among the West African countries. It will create employment and revive some ports already rendered redundant due to inactivity. The companies which import vehicles through the sea have been rendered redundant because of the importation through the land border. 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 right charges. If the attraction to neighbouring ports is the lower tariffs, then Nigeria can lower the tariffs here as well’, he said.
But the Chairman of Toiletry and Cosmetics section of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Akpan Umeh, differed from them, arguing that the ban would add more pains to Nigerians because there are not enough plants in the country to produce vehicles to cater for the needs of the masses.
He stated that it is only a few plants that are working now to serve Nigerians’ need. He said with this ban, it is expected that very soon, there will be hike in transportation fare across the country.
“This is not the right time to ban such items,” he added. But the former Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Dr Kingsley Usoh, while commending the government, suggested that the government should crush vehicles that are older than seven years—-whether they were brought in from the land or sea.
Also, 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. It is good. Government can track and capture its full revenue. No more land borders. Standards can be enforced”, he noted.
The Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf, said that the ban of new and fairly used vehicles is a welcome development, but that the government should be serious in implementing the policy as this would generate more revenue if well implemented.
Yusuf noted that for the ban to be effective, government must create environment for manufacturers of these vehicles to produce locally made vehicles. He called on the manufacturers of vehicles in the country to take advantage of this ban to begin to look inward in producing locally-made vehicles for Nigerians.
The spokesman of the Nigeria Customs Service, Wale Adeniyi who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday said the prohibition order was sequel to a presidential directive restricting all vehicle imports to Nigerian 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 December 31, 2016 to clear their vehicle imports landed in neighbouring ports”, Adeniyi stated.