The Federal Government has put a March 31, 2017 date to the commencement of registration of automobiles being imported into the country under the Vehicle Identification Number scheme. This was disclosed by Mrs. Kemi Adeosun 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 on Monday.
The Minister then went on to extol the benefits of the new registration directive while encouraging buyers to check for valid proof of compliance by importers before purchase. These are of the benefits of the VIN as put forward by Adeosun.
- It would reduce cases of smuggling through land borders
- Increased revenue by reducing leakages through the nation’s porous borders
- A reduction in imports under-declaration and evasion of duty payment
- Original vehicle manufacturers will be aware of their products imported into Nigeria
- Vehicle manufacturers will have to extend benefits of any recalls to Nigerian customers
- Increased transparency and accountability in the collection of duties
- Car theft and non-insurance of vehicles will be reduced in the long run
This initiative, as mentioned by Adeosun, will eventually be extended to all vehicles in the country and 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.
However, as with issues concerning database creation and management in Nigeria, the issue revolves around compliance by importers and enforcement by regulators. For example, the National Identity Number project still fails to capture a sizable chunk of the nation’s population, defeating the noble purposes of its creation.
Another quick drawback that will come to mind involves the access to the database by law enforcement agencies. Issues relating to technical knowhow and infrastructure immediately popup as key obstacles that will need to be surmounted if the VIN scheme is to have any success.