The Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON) says that its members are tired of importing vehicles through the seaports.
Thisbwas disclosed by President of AMDON Prince Ajibola Adedoyin, who said that vehicle importers prefer going through the land borders because it is more seamless and peaceful than the seaports which are chaotic, cumbersome, and expensive.
He said that the Tin Can Island Port which has most of the RoRo Terminals is characterized by bad access roads and port congestion.
According to him, importing a vehicle through the neighboring countries takes less than 24hours, compared to the seaport where it takes more than two weeks.
“Most importers prefer to go to these neighboring countries to import vehicles because they are calmer and without any stress, our members waste more time and go through a lot of stress while importing through Apapa seaports.
“You would have cleared your car, but you spend days for it to come out of the port, there is so much economic waste there. It is unfortunate that the port has been congested like this for several years and the Federal Government has failed in its responsibility to fix it.
“If those borders can be opened for vehicles, we would prefer to go to the border to clear our vehicles quietly and within 24 hours you are back home.
“This is better than going to Apapa where you spend more than two weeks, if care is not taken, even the profit you are going to make on the car would have been spent.
“We have offered to assist as an association in making sure that when the borders are opened, the Federal government can bring us in to make sure that no vehicle is smuggled through the border routes,” he said.
The AMDON President noted that the reopening of the borders by President Muhammadu Buhari is good, but that it is inconsequential to vehicle importers.
“To a very large extent, opening the border is good because trade would go on, but in our own area of business, we cannot say for sure if it would affect us positively.
“The President gave his reasons for shutting down the border two years was to protect the farmers.
“Is it tenable that you closed down your borders because you cannot monitor your borders? For that two years, if we do the statistics, Nigeria has lost billions of Naira, it is like we gain N1 and lost N3”, he said
Adedoyin however noted that reopening borders would not stop the stakeholders from fighting against the controversial 15 per cent NAC levy which was recently imposed on imported vehicles by the Federal government.
He said that all the stakeholders at the port have written to the Honourable Minister of Finance for a meeting to discuss the matter.
On the implications of not reversing the 15 per cent NAC Levy, Adedoyin said, ” smuggling is going to increase, and there would be so much fracas between our members and the Nigerian Customs.
“Don’t forget that Customs do not have the manpower to curb smuggling, they are just making noise.
“Bringing in NAC to get more revenue is like cutting your nose to spite your face.”