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FG issues 90-day ultimatum for registration of cars, payment of duties

…Imposes 25% charges

By: Felix Ikpotor

The Federal Government has given owners of unregistered and unverified cars in the country a window period of 90 days to regularise and register their cars on the National Vehicle Registry, VREG, or risks stiffer penalties.

The unregistered car owners are also expected to pay 25 percent duties as penalties upon registration and regularisation.

Mr. Kingsley Asuije from the National Vehicle Registry, VREG, Federal Ministry of Finance, who dropped the hint at a sensitization workshop for officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, car dealers, freight forwarders and licensed agents at the Area 1 Seaport in Port Harcourt, explained that the 90 days window period is for cars already in the country inwhich duties weren’t paid on them and those already detained by customs.

He said the initiative is an effort by the government to curb duty evasion and to ensure that all vehicles in the country is duly verified.

According to him: “VREG is a national repository of all vehicular information using the Vehicular Registration Number, VIN, what this relationship with customs is, is to get all vehicles coming into the country to be registered on the VREG using the vehicles registration number to pullout the vehicle specification, insurance and the whole life circle of the vehicle to the database.

“Also by this 90 days window that has been introduced by the Ministry of Finance for all vehicles that has not paid verifiable duties to be verified is to get them unto this database and in conjunction with the customs process, to show that these vehicles have been duly cleared.

“Part of this initiative is to curb duty evasion, smuggling of cars and to ensure that all vehicles coming into the country has verifiable duties as well as to know vehicles that are worthy of Nigerian roads”.

Speaking on the benefits of VREG to the stakeholders in the car industry, Asuije said, “the different stakeholders such as agents and dealers would benefit from it as they get their vehicles in the right specification as against getting doctored specifications”.

Other benefits of the VREG registration he highlighted includes; improved vehicle policy formulation and implementation, enhanced vehicular tracking and security, accident reporting, improved data collation for commerce and trade amongst others.

The VREG official noted that the 90 days grace period for registry started on 4th March, 2024 to end on 5th June, 2024.

Speaking on the sideline of the trainning, Mr. Ngozi Uzokwe, Chairman, National Approved Government Freight Forwarders, Area 1 Seaport Chapter, expressed satisfaction with the trainning but appealed that the 25 percent penalties be removed since the duty is on cars that are already in the country and being used.

“The trainning is a welcome development because a lot of things have been happening without any trace. For instance, in overseas, if anything happens to your vehicle, they easily find out what happened to it, what we need now is to develop a very strong database to be able to check excesses and not only collecting duties. If your car gets lost, we want to get to a point where it can be easily tracked.

“However, what we are trying to oppose is that this particular 90 days is for cars that has been cleared from the port so there should be a kind of human face to it not to attach penalty on it,” he said.

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