Some car dealers in Abuja have called on the Federal Government to reduce customs duties of imported cars and to formulate policies to encourage Nigerians to patronise locally assembled vehicles.
The dealers told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that high customs duties and the high exchange rate of the naira had affected their businesses negatively.
A female dealer at Galadima, who spoke on condition of anonymity, appealed to government to reduce the custom duties, saying “ we pay as high as N350,000 for duty on Lexus”.
“We are not against collection of custom duties because we pay in Cotonou where we import cars from and we also pay heavily here.
“You can see, our car stand is empty, custom officers came to pack all the cars that we have not paid the duties; we are begging them to reduce the payment,’’ she said.
Mr Emeka Ohaeri, a car dealer at Galadima, said that the new policy on the ban of imported cars through land borders had affected the business.
NAN reports that the prohibition order covers all new and used vehicles.
The ban was sequel to a presidential directive restricting all vehicle imports to sea ports. The order took effect from Jan. 1.
Ohaeri of Biggud Global Motors said the government should have encouraged local production of vehicles before the ban on the importation of cars through land borders.
“If you look around at our space, you will see that it is very dry; you can’t see many cars, all you are seeing now is old stock.
“We have not bought any car this year. We can’t even buy cars expect we depend on people that are importing from America.
“It is affecting us seriously. This is coupled with Beninois currency, the CFA Franc and the dollar, that are very costly because we import from Cotonou,’’ he said.
“A car that we sold for N6 million before now, buyers cannot even get it for N8 million again,’ Ohaeri said.
Nwabor Chris, a car dealer at Galadima, called on the government to suspend the policy.
“The policy has been affecting our business; we sell and we can’t go to the market.
“If they implement it, we will not be able to import cars again because we don’t travel abroad; we go to Cotonou to import.
“Most of us dealers import cars from Cotonou, while some import from the US and clear in Lagos,’’ he said.