40% of smuggled vehicles in Nigeria are stolen- Finance Minister
The Federal Government yesterday said 40 per cent of smuggled vehicles that find their way into the country are smuggled.
This is aside the fact that 45 per cent of the vehicles that enter the country are smuggled annually.
To address this menace, the government has launched pilot phase of the new National Vehicle Registry (VERG) automated gateway portal in Lagos State.
It is intended to increase national revenue, curb smuggling and other criminal activities.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, spoke at the grand finale of the sensitization seminar on VERG in Abuja.
The minister explained that VERG is the centralized database for all vehicles in Nigeria using their unique Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN), which stores detailed vehicular information such as specifications, ownership, and history of each vehicle in Nigeria.
Under this system, vehicle owners in the country are required to register their vehicle using their VIN on the VREG portal.
Ahmed said the establishment of this registry “became necessary to tackle the menace of customs duty evasion, vehicle theft, vehicle-related crimes and ineffective vehicle insurance coverage, among others”.
Mrs Ahmed said figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that 45 per cent of vehicles are smuggled into Nigeria annually; thus, evading duty payment. She noted that 40 per cent of the vehicles are stolen.
The finance minister lamented that a case study found that Nigeria was the hub of stolen vehicles as VIN of vehicles in the country were usually unregistered, consequently, vehicles within the shores of Nigeria cannot be traced.