If you think it is only the poor that are suffering in Nigeria’s economic recession, think again.

The rich are also crying.

Luxury items especially brand new cars have now joined the wish list of the haves and haves not.

Statistics coming from auto dealers in Nigeria show that only 350 new vehicles were imported by Nigerian auto firms in the first quarter of this year.

This figure represents a 90% drop.  

In May 2016, over 3,500 new vehicles were imported into Nigeria.

The Managing Director of Toyota Nigeria Limited, Kunle Ade-Ojo, who gave the statistics in Lagos, attributed the development to economic recession, including high duty on imported cars and shortage of foreign exchange.

Ade-Ojo also said the total retail sale of new vehicles for the first quarter of 2017 stood at 2,000 units compared to 5,500 units sold last year.

Although he said the fall in vehicle imports was also witnessed last year, it is not as pronounced as this.

For instance, he recalled that the total vehicles imported into the country in 2016 dropped to 7,000 from 18,000 in 2015.

According to him, the total retail market plunged by about 42% from 32,000 units in 2015 to 18,000 in 2016.

He, however, said commercial vehicles sold more last year at 70% than passenger cars, which recorded 30% of the total sales.

He also said the total forecast for the year was between 8,000 and 10,000 vehicles.

"The scarcity of forex affected business last year and that affected importation. Also, there was the devaluation of the naira. Whereas in the first quarter of the year, the United States dollar was just about 200 Naira, by the end of the year, it had doubled.

"So, prices of vehicles also doubled in the space of one year and a lot of businesses could not afford to pay for the increase given that they were also struggling to survive," he said.