The chickens have come home to roost.

Raising the car import tariff to 70% to encourage local production was a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.

Two years after the implementation of the policy, it has yet to produce any meaningful result, as local production has not improved.

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This has resulted to increase in smuggling activities of cars imported through neighbouring countries, mainly from Benin Republic where import duties are fairly affordable.

The Nigeria Ports Authority is acknowledging this and is lamenting the challenge.

According to Reuters, quoting the NPA figures, car imports fell to 70,453 units in the first 10 months of this year, a 26.8% reduction on the same period of 2016.

The Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Usman, acknowledged that the policy meant local demand for cars was not being met.

“We appreciate the need for the government to have assembly plants and manufacturing firms in Nigeria, but we are concerned that the capacity of the Nigerian market is beyond what is said to be assembled in Nigeria,” the NPA boss explained.

Read More: Car Dealers Want Govt. To Slash Import Duty To 20%

“We have seen a lot of cars being smuggled through neighbouring countries – mainly from Benin,” she added.

Vehicle imports fell to 96,222 units last year from 131,994 in 2015, according to port figures and Usman said the ports authority expected a further drop in 2018 to 67,400 units.

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