From March next year, Nigerian vehicle owners will undergo a new registration exercise to keep their vehicles on the road.
The Federal Government disclosed on Monday that from March 2017 it will begin the enforcement of a new system of vehicle registration known as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
According to the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, VIN is designed to reduce revenue leakages and imports’ under-declaration and evasion of duty payments.
At a workshop on the integration of the National Vehicle Identification System organised by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Abuja, the minister said that the Federal Government plans to use technology to fight smuggling and increase revenue collection.
In a statement made available to journalists by her Media Adviser, Mr. Festus Akanbi, the minister advised the public to ensure that they obtain proof of customs duty payment when buying a vehicle to avoid being saddled with the liability of unpaid duties and related penalties.
She said: “Going forward, we are introducing a new system where all vehicles will be registered using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), effective 31st March, 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 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 vehicles imported into Nigeria. This information is important where safety and other recalls are issued internationally. The manufacturers will now have no excuse for not extending the benefits of such recalls to Nigerian customers.
“The objective is to ensure transparency and accountability in the collection of duties; a central system for tracking all vehicles coming into Nigeria independent of point of entry, shared database for all regulatory and enforcement agencies and requirements. As we expand the database to cover all cars, we will be able to tackle car theft and non-insurance of vehicles among others,” the minister said.
Adeosun said that VIN was a collective venture by the NCS, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). She noted that Nigeria loses billions of naira annually due to the activities of smugglers.
The minister described the VIN system as a “powerful tool against this illicit and dangerous practice, which sees stolen, accident wrecked and other unsafe vehicles brought into Nigeria,” adding that the programme is also expected to boost vehicle security and the easy transfer of vehicles from one owner to the other.
It was not immediately clear last night if the new vehicle registration system will affect vehicles already in use in Nigeria or restricted to those arriving in the country from the take-off date.
Officials of the ministry approached for clarification on the categories of the vehicles to be affected by the new regime declined comment.
Newsmen had also inquired whether vehicles already in use in the country would be given VIN at the point of renewal of their vehicle particulars upon expiration.