Indications have emerged that the most populous black nation, Nigeria imported about 400,000 vehicles between 2015 and 2020.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ms Zainab Shamsuna-Ahmed, made the disclosure at a one-day sensitisation on the National Vehicle Registry (VREG), on Tuesday in Kano.
The minister, represented by Mrs Fatima Hayatu, Director Technical Services in the ministry, said available data of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), indicated that 40 per cent of the vehicles were smuggled into the country.
She said that: “The NBS confirmed that between 2015 and 2020, Nigeria imported an average of 400,000 vehicles.
“An additional 40 per cent of the vehicles are smuggled into the country annually.
“A case study revealed that Nigeria was the hub of stolen vehicles, as Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of vehicles in the country were usually unregistered.
“Consequently, vehicles within the shores of Nigeria cannot be traced.”
According to her, the ministry is introducing the National Vehicle Registry (VREG), to address these challenges.
The system, she said, would provide a singular platform through which all relevant agencies reference vehicular data with a view of ascertaining ownership and value information.
She said the system would also assist to ensure accurate monitoring, documentation and tracking of vehicular activities across the country as well as enhance national security.
In his remarks, the Acting Controller in charge of Zone B, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Uba Muhammad, said the initiative would assist to ensure security of lives and property of Nigerians.
Represented by the Controller, Kano/Jigawa Command, Mr Suleiman Umar, Muhammad said that the initiative would curb insecurity and enhance revenue generation, especially on vehicles.
“This initiative suit in with E-Customs Project that will signal the beginning of end-to-end automation of NCS processes and procedures.
“It will also usher a new regime of total automation of all trans-border trade activities,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Usman Rabiu, the representative of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), described the security aspect attached to the initiative as “more important.”
He said that FRSC was happy to be part of the initiative, where all relevant agencies would have a central database on vehicular activities across the country.
Also, Alhaji Mahmud Santsi, the Kano State Commissioner for Works and Transport, pledged the state government support to the project.
He advised stakeholders to identify a common technology that can be used to achieved the set objectives.