Registration of imported automobiles into the country under the Vehicle Identification Number scheme will commence from March 31, 2017 as fixed by the Federal Government.
The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) scheme is aimed at introducing technology to counter the activities of smugglers and boost revenue collection.
The initiative is expected to put an end to the smuggling of vehicles into the country through the land borders, and eliminate revenue leakage by ensuring that appropriate duties are paid on imported vehicles.
It is also expected that the programme will significantly boost vehicle security and ease of transfer of vehicles from one owner to the other.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this on Monday, during the opening of a workshop on the integration of the National Vehicle Identification System held at the Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja.
In a statement by Adeosun’s Special Adviser on Media, Festus Akanbi, the Minister said that revenue would be increased by reducing leakages through the nation’s porous borders, adding that there would also be a reduction in imports under-declaration and evasion of duty payment.
“Going forward, we are introducing a new system where all vehicles will be registered using the Vehicle Identification Number, effective March 31, 2017. Customs clearance will be linked to the VIN, and this, in turn, will be required by each state government at the point of vehicle registration.
Effectively, any vehicle on which duty has not been paid will not be able to be registered and driven in Nigeria. We are using technology to make smuggling an unprofitable venture.”
The VIN system was described as a powerful tool against the illicit and dangerous practices of smugglers which cost the country billions of naira losses annually.
The VIN provides a form of identity for each vehicle that will be linked to proof of ownership and connected to a centralised database.
Another advantage of the VIN is that the original vehicle manufacturers will be aware of the vehicles imported into Nigeria.
The objective is to ensure transparency and accountability in the collection of duties and create a central system for tracking all vehicles coming into Nigeria independent of the point of entry, shared database for all regulatory and enforcement agencies and requirements.
The expanded database which covers all cars, will be able to tackle car theft and non-insurance of vehicles, among others.
Members of the public have hitherto been advised to ensure that they obtain proof of customs duty payment when purchasing a vehicle to avoid being saddled with the liability of unpaid duties and related penalties.
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retd); Secretary of the Joint Tax Board, Muhammed Abubakar; Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Boboye Oyeyemi; and Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Usman, who represented the Inspector-General of Police were in attendance at the workshop.