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More Nigerians have reacted to the recent launch of the integrated National Vehicle Identification System (NVIS), an initiative the government claimed is meant to ensure that all vehicles operating in the country are properly captured and registered for security reasons.
According to respondents, the only target of the government is to tax car owners because government has observed that there are too many cars on roads.
According to a Lagos car owner, Mr. Jide Adewale, “Government is now looking for money by all means and the only area they think money can be made quickly is to tax all car owners because there are millions of cars on roads they are not even taking care of”.
“I recall that sometimes back, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) wanted to rip off Nigerian motorists by mere changing the plate numbering system and in the process tax motorists but somebody went to court and the plot failed. Now they have come again. I don’t think it will work.
He argued that “it is the same failed plot that they want to reintroduce hiding under the cover of tracking cars used by criminals.”
“The government when it was introducing the new numbering plate also claimed that it will help track armed robbers and kidnappers, still the illicit businesses are still booming and the Police has not for once, told Nigerians that a set of vehicles were impounded based on the new numbering system. I assure you this new scam will come and go, the criminals will still be doing their businesses while our hard earned money will land in the coffers of TSA.
Another motorist and taxi operator who could not give his name corroborated Adewale’s views, saying “All the government is looking for is people’s money because oil prices are no more”.
The taxi operator queried when the Minister of Finance became a security expert to know that Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) will stop crimes with cars.
Business Hilights recalls that the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, observed at a workshop on integration of NVIS involving the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) that “Kidnappers, armed robbers, terrorists and other criminals ply their unwholesome trade with vehicles and as such would need to properly register them to help in investigations when impounded.
But she exposed the key target of the government when she lamented that the Federal Government had lost huge revenue, as about 70 per cent of imported vehicles do not pay accurate Customs duties and taxes.
According to her, “This collaboration is key. We want to be able to detect stolen vehicles. We want to be able to capture the accurate revenue from imported vehicles. We also want to ensure that vehicle owners pay taxes. These are what obtain in developed economies and we shouldn’t be left out. It’s the way to go,” she said.
Again to show further that the major aim of the scheme is to raise money for government, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, who was present lamented that vehicles coming into the country fall below set standards, adding that government had also been robbed of revenue for a long time. He warned his officers to ensure the success of the programme as anyone found going against the law will not only be sacked but will also be prosecuted.
“With this collaboration, I am convinced that complete sanity will be infused into the system of vehicle registration. It is a known fact that 70 per cent of vehicles registered for use in Nigeria are not documented for duty purpose by the NCS. The loss of revenue associated with this lapse is quite obvious. However, in a country like ours, the security implication of that development is equally worrisome.
“This collaboration is, therefore, a positive step to complement the recent policy banning importation of vehicles through the land borders. Through our collaboration, we are strong in our collective resolve to make smuggled cars unattractive to buyers,” he explained.
In his remarks, the Corps Marshall of the FRSC described the initiative as laudable as it involves the harmonisation of biometric data generation and ensures a unified national database.
“This has always been the long time desire of the FRSC as we have always been willing to share our data with all relevant agencies of government towards achieving development and security for the nation.