Some car dealers in Lagos have urged the federal government to rescind the ban on importation of vehicles through land borders to aid inclusive economic growth and crime reduction.
The car dealers stated this in Lagos yesterday that the policy was ill-timed considering the economic recession, high foreign exchange rate and increasing unemployment.
The federal government, had on December 5, 2016, announced a ban on importation of used and new vehicles through land borders with effect from January 1, 2017.
The Managing Director, Attitude Auto Mart, Mr. Kingsley Godswill, said the economic situation in the country had reduced ability of Nigerians to purchase automobiles.
“The car lots of many auto dealers that import massively into the country are almost empty.
“The exchange rate is killing the business and prices of automobiles are going beyond the reach of an average Nigerian.
“The land border ban will further worsen the situation, especially for upcoming car dealers that prefer the land borders because of affordability.
“My appeal to the government is to reverse this order because we are only struggling to survive in this harsh economic climate.
“We understand that the government needs to improve its revenue base, but it can be done by strengthening the customs service and instilling transparency in its operations,” he said.
The Chief Executive of Emmoba Motors in Lagos, Mr. Olaseni Obafemi, according to The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said downward review of duties on imported automobiles would boost economic activities, while generating more revenue for government.
“The current price of a vehicle could purchase three vehicles before now due to the fluctuations in the foreign exchange rate.
“Due to the decline in the value of the naira, unemployment rate and increasing cost of living, the attraction for automobiles has reduced drastically.
“If duties paid to customs are reviewed, vehicles will be affordable for the citizens and life would be easier for all.” The General Manager, Exotic Autos, Mr. Felix Agbaje, warned that the ban would worsen unemployment, poverty and encourage smuggling.
“This policy is not thoughtful. It holds a lot of implications for the economic development of the country.
“There are many unemployed youths in the country striving to survive whether by legal or illegal means.
“In this business, we face a lot of challenges of auto snatching from armed robbers; the country has many porous borders and these daring groups may increase smuggling activities.
“Before the government rolled out policies, it should consult extensively with stakeholders to appreciate the likely effects on their businesses,” he said.