FG moves to halt smuggling of stolen vehicles into Nigeria

Federal Government on Tuesday said it has introduced a system of National Vehicle Registry, VREG, to tackle smuggling and dumping of stolen vehicles into the country.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed made this known while declaring open a one day zonal sensitization programme on the system, VREG for stakeholders in Kano.

Ahmed represented by her Director, Technical Services, Hajia Fatima Hayatu said Nigeria has been a hub of stolen vehicles as most Vehicle Identification Number (VIM) in the country were unregistered rendering the vehicles difficult to trace hence the need to introduce the system.

According to her, “The National Bureau of Statistics confirmed that between 2015 and 2020, Nigeria imported an average of 400,000 vehicles with an average of 8% increase in import annually. While an additional 40% of vehicles are smuggled into the country annually, thus evading duty payment of which 22% of these vehicles are stolen vehicles.

A case study also revealed that between October, 2018 to September, 2019 the country recorded over 1.8 trillion naira value of used vehicle importation. It was further revealed that Nigeria was hub of stolen vehicles as Vehicle Identification Number (VIM) of vehicles in the country were unregistered, consequently, vehicles within the shores of Nigeria cannot be traced.

“in a bid to address these challenges, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning launched the National Vehicle Registry, VREG, which is a national repository of vehicular information that seeks to provide a singular platform through which all relevant agencies shall reference vehicular data with a view of ascertaining ownership and value information, capturing vehicular exchanges and utilizing the Vehicle Identification Number, VIN of all vehicles in Nigeria.

“VREG system will among others serve as a single source of validation at the point of vehicle registration while capturing and storing all vehicular information over the life cycle of every vehicle for the purpose of effective motor vehicle administration, ensuring the enforcement of penalties placed on vehicles by regulators across board and sensuring accurate monitoring, documentation and tracking of vehicular activities across the nation to enhance national security,” Ahmed said.

In his remarks, the Acting Controller in charge of Zone B, Nigeria Customs Service, Uba Mohammed, said the system would assist in curbing insecurity and enhance revenue generation especially on vehicles.

Mohammed represented by the Controller, Kano/Jigawa Command, Comptroller Suleiman Umar, said, “This system, VREG could not have come at an important time than now when the Federal Government is working round the clock to better the lives of Nigerians and ensuring insecurity is curbed at all cost.

“This initiative suit in with E-Customs Project that would signal the beginning of end-to-end automation of Nigeria Customs Service processes and procedure. It will also usher a new regime of total automation of all trans-border trade activities,” he said.

Earlier, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State urged the relevant agencies to identify a common technology that can be used to achieved the set objective.

Ganduje represented by his Commissioner of Housing and Transport, Alhaji Mahmud Santsi also stressed the need for synergy among all agencies to ensure successful implementation of the system.

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