By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as the Nigeria Customs Service has clarified that re-opening of the land borders is not for vehicles and rice imports, the Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON) has said that its members are tired of importing vehicles through the seaports.
AMDON is the apex body of all car dealers in Nigeria, with chapters in 36 states of the country, including FCT.
Prince Ajibola Adedoyin, President of AMDON in an exclusive chat with DAILY TREND on Thursday said that vehicle importers prefer going through the land borders because it is more seamless and peaceful than the seaports which is chaotic, cumbersome and expensive.
He said the Tin Can Island Port which has most of the RoRo Terminals is characterised by bad access roads and port congestion.
According to him, Importing a vehicle through the neighbouring countries takes less than 24hours, compared to the seaport where it takes more than two weeks.
Speaking, Prince Adedoyin said “Most importers prefer to go to these neighboring countries to import vehicles because they are more calm 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 24hours 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, 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 re-opening 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 monitored your borders? For that two years, if we do the statistics, Nigeria has lost billions of Naira, its like we gain N1 and lost N3” he said
Prince Ajibola Adedoyin however noted that reopening of borders would not stop the stakeholders fighting against the controversial 15% 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.
Speaking on the implications of not reversing the 15% NAC Levy, Prince 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 cub smuggling, they are just making noise.
Even some of their Customs officers are part of the smuggling ring.
“Bringing in NAC to get more revenue is like cutting your nose to spite your face”