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Car Dealers Lament As Vehicle importation drops by 40% as clearing charges skyrocket

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The number of imported vehicles that entered the country during the first 10 months of this year was about 40% lower than that of the previous year. In 2021, a total of 192,287 vehicles were imported into the country. On the other hand, in 2022, 114,159 units were imported.

The PTML terminal is responsible for handling most of the vehicles that come into Nigeria. According to a document obtained by our correspondent, the number of vessels that docked at the ports has decreased significantly from 167 in the previous year to 122 in the current year.

According to the document, the number of containers handled by the terminal in the first 10 months of 2021 was 30,560, which is a decrease from the 24,181 handled during the corresponding period of the previous year. The Roll-On-Off terminal, which is located in Nigeria, is mainly used for importing vehicles.

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According to the country’s maritime industry clearing agents, the introduction of the Vehicles Identification Number and inconsistent government policies are some of the factors that have caused the decline in the number of imported vehicles. Thomas Alor, the chairman of the PTML’s chapter, said that the government’s levy on imported cars was also contributing to the decrease in the number of vehicles being cleared.

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Meanwhile, car dealers have lamented a serious drop in patronage as cars now seem to be above the reach of ordinary Nigerians.

A car dealer at the popular Berger Automobile Market, Lagos, who gave his name as Chinonso Stainless, told Sunday PUNCH that most of the dealers hardly record any customers in months as against what they used to see, especially when the Christmas season was approaching.

He said, “My brother, there is nothing happening here again because of the high duty rate; people who are bringing in cars are not many again. So, there are fewer cars in the market and the prices are very high; the turn up of buyers is very low. Patronage is not the way it used to be, people hardly buy cars now.

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“A 2003 Toyota Corolla that used to sell for N2.5m is now N3.5m, while the 2010 model of the same car is N4.8m. So, we are pleading with the government to bring down the duty on cars because as soon as the duty comes down, the prices will definitely come down.”

Another dealer, John Paul, said, “People now prefer to buy Nigerian used cars now instead of foreign used cars; even so, the Nigerian used car is also very expensive. You hardly see a clean Nigerian used car that is less than N1.5m; that is how expensive cars are now.”

The President, of the Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria, Metch Nnadiekwe, did not take his calls as of the time of filing this report.

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