The high foreign exchange rate is hitting hard on the Nigerian economy and forced over 12,000 importers to seek alternative means of livelihood pending rebound.
The importation of foreign products, especially used vehicles, popularly called Tokunbo has dropped because of low patronage.
Importers across the country are saying these are not the best of times for dealers in second-hand vehicles due to continuous falling of the naira against the world’s major currencies.
A survey of the Berger Automobile Market in Lagos, shows activities are currently at their lowest, one of the dealers, Nnadiekwe said “Importation of vehicles is no longer profitable. It does not matter whether you are importing from Europe or through the Seme border. The current exchange rate has caused the naira to crash against every major currency”.
“You spend so much money importing a vehicle into the country only to pay an additional 35 per cent duty. Who is going to buy the vehicle? As it is, we are unable to increase the prices of our vehicles. Things are so bad that when clients come to buy, they price the cars below the cost price and we are forced to sell at a loss.”
He further stated that no car dealer is currently importing vehicles as they are yet to sell old stocks due to poor patronage.
“We implore the Federal Government to do something about the situation. Go round the market, there are empty lots all over. Already, some of us are divesting our stock in order to raise capital for other businesses. If things continue like this till June, we will have a crisis,” he said.
The Public Relations Officer of the PTML Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Steve Okonmah, said the command now examine one container daily compared with 98 containers daily in the previous year.
“Only 66,000 vehicles were imported through the PTML in 2015, while 224,000 was imported in 2014,” Steve added.