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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday revealed that no fewer that 40 per cent of vehicles imported into Nigeria were stolen.

Delivering a keynote address at the zonal sensitisation seminar on the National Vehicle Registry (VREG) policy in Abuja, Ahmed said “National Bureau of Statistics confirmed that between 2015 and 2019, Nigeria imported an average of 300,000 vehicles with an average of 48 per cent increase in import annually while an additional 45 per cent of vehicles are smuggled into the country annually, thus evading duty payment of which 40 per cent of these vehicles are stolen vehicles.

“A case study also revealed that between October 2018 and September 2019, the country recorded over N1.8 trillion value of used vehicle importation.

“It was further revealed that Nigeria was the hub of stolen vehicles as Vehicle Identification Number (VIM) of vehicles in the country were usually unregistered, consequently, vehicles within the shores of Nigeria cannot be traced.”

The minister said her ministry conceived VREG to further shore up government revenues VRED automated gateway portal which she said is a means to leveraging technology infrastructure to maximise revenue generation for Nigeria as well as to enhance national security such as curtailing kidnapping, utilisation of vehicles in crime perpetration and terrorism.

VREG as a national repository of vehicular information seeks to provide a singular platform through which all relevant agencies shall reference vehicular data with a view of ascertaining ownership and value information, capturing vehicular exchanges and utilizing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of all vehicles in Nigeria. “Additional value is also accruable to federal, state governments and related agencies via this policy,” she said.

By Sanya Adejokun

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