Prices of imported used cars are expected to rise appreciably in the New Year as the Federal Government begins the collection of 70 per cent duty on second-hand vehicles imported into the country from January 1, 2015.
This is the second phase of the national automotive policy, which was announced in November 2013.
In a move to encourage local assembling of vehicles, the government had last year raised the import tariff on fully-built cars and used vehicles from 22 per cent to 70 per cent. The first phase of the policy involving the payment of 35 per cent duty came into effect in February 2014.
The second phase of the policy involving another 35 per cent increase of the levy, expected to take effect on July 1, 2014, was later postponed to January 1, 2015 after consultations with stakeholders.
Following the first 35 per cent duty increase on imported used cars, auto dealers at the Berger Yard Auto Market along the Apapa/Oshodi Expressway in Lagos reportedly reduced the number of imports by half due to a corresponding rise in the cost of imports.
Dealers, who spoke with our correspondent, said sales had been badly hit as a result of the implementation of the first phase of the policy.
When our correspondent visited the Berger Yard Auto Market on Tuesday, activities had considerably slowed down. Car dealers hanged around the various parks at the huge market and called out to passers-by in the hope of getting them to purchase some of the vehicles on display.
A car dealer, Okechukwu Madueke, said, “Compared to previous years, sale this Yuletide is really bad. Usually at this period, we would have many people rushing to buy cars. At this park alone, we could sell between 10 and 15 cars daily; so, by the time you put the figure together for the other parks, you will know how well we were doing then. But now, it is a struggle to sell two to three cars daily.
“I actually expected that there would be a rush to buy vehicles before the January 1 deadline to beat the enforcement of the second phase of the tariff increase, but things are not going that way at all.”
The car dealer also said the heavy traffic along the Oshodi/Apapa Expressway and the devaluation of the naira were other factors that could be responsible for the poor sale.
Our correspondent gathered that the current situation at the Berger Yard Market had been so for the past six months. Some dealers expressed their frustration at the traffic situation along the route, which they said could be one of the reasons for the drop in sales.
As of the time our correspondent visited the market, petroleum tankers had completely blocked the expressway from Mile 2 to Apapa.
Another dealer, Iyke Okoye, said, “Sometimes, buyers turn back at Mile 2 out of frustration after spending many hours in the traffic trying to get to this market. The reality is that there are other auto markets at FESTAC and in other areas of Lagos where they can buy cars. If people have to spend hours in the traffic to get here, they can as well go to other places if only to save themselves the stress.
“Accidents happen here on an hourly basis because the petroleum tankers parked indiscriminately along the road. So, we don’t know if this is the reason why people no longer buy from us.”