TO resolve the problem of smuggling stolen vehicles into the country, the Federal Government has launched the pilot phase of the National Vehicle Registry (VREG) automated gateway portal in Lagos State.
The Federal Government had said that 40% of the vehicles smuggled into the country are stolen while 45% are smuggled.
Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said VREG was created to increase national revenue, curb smuggling and other criminal activities.
She explained that VREG would be the centralised database for all vehicles in Nigeria using their unique Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN), which stores detailed vehicular information such as specifications, ownership, and history of each vehicle in Nigeria.
Under this system, vehicle owners in the country are required to register their vehicle using their VIN on the VREG portal.
Ahmed said the establishment of this registry “became necessary to tackle the menace of customs duty evasion, vehicle theft, vehicle-related crimes, and ineffective vehicle insurance coverage, among others.”
Ahmed said figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that 45% of vehicles were smuggled into Nigeria annually, thus, evading duty payment.
The finance minister lamented that a case study found that Nigeria was the hub of stolen vehicles as VIN of vehicles in the country were usually unregistered.
She stated that VREG would ensure enforceability of penalties placed on vehicles by regulators across board.
Those who will enforce the implementation and realisation of the VERG goal are Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO); Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and state revenue system.
Others are National Insurance Commission (NAICOM); Nigeria Police Force (NPF); Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA); Nigeria Customs Service (NCS); Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); and Transportation Commissioners Forum, among others.
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hammed Ali, represented by Galadima Saidu at the launch, said the NCS would be committed to implementing VREG as it would boost the service’s revenue and improve national security.