Within a nine-month period covering January to September this year, Nigerians spent about N509.8bn importing used vehicles into the country.
The figure was arrived at based on an analysis of the foreign trade in good statistics obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics.
The cars were imported into Nigeria from the United States and some European countries such as Italy, Belgium, Germany and Canada.
A further analysis of the trade statistics showed that in the first quarter of this year, Nigerians imported used cars worth N148.28bn.
A breakdown of the N148.28bn showed that used vehicles worth N90.8bn were imported from the United States alone while the balance of N58bn was spend on vehicles that came in from other countries.
Further breakdown showed that out of the N148bn, vehicles with 2,500 cylinder capacity accounted for N117.46bn while the balance of N30.82bn was the value for vehicles with 1,500cc cylinder capacity.
For the second quarter, the report put the monetary value of the vehicles imported into the country at N177.34bn.
Out of the N177.34bn, about N114.9bn worth of used vehicles came in from the US, Italy N6.3bn, Belgium N4.1bn while the balance of N52.04bn came in from other countries.
Data from the NBS also showed that during the second quarter, vehicles with 2,500cc cylinder capacity accounted for N146.95bn while the balance of N30.39bn was the value for vehicles with 1,500cc cylinder capacity.
In the third quarter of this year, the NBS statistics put the importation of used vehicles at N184.18bn.
An analysis of the countries of origin showed that the US accounted for N120.6bn worth of vehicles, Italy N6.3bn, Belgium N4.3bn, Germany N3.9bn and Canada N3.9bn.
Vehicles imported from other countries accounted for the balance of N35.18bn based on analysis of the NBS data.
The report read in part, “In terms of imports, used vehicles worth N120.6bn were imported from the United States, Italy N6.3bn, Belgium N4.3bn, Germany N3.9bn and Canada N3.9bn.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Stallion Group, Mr Anant Badjatya, said the inability of Nigerians to buy new vehicles was worrisome.
The Stallion boss said as of 2018, only 10,000 new vehicles with a total value of N4bn were sold in Nigeria.
He described the situation where a population of over 200 million could only demand for 10,000 new vehicles in a year as embarrassing, adding that in India, 10,000 new vehicles could be sold in just two days.
He commended the Federal Government for the closure of the border, adding that the move would have significant impact on the auto industry.
He said the smuggling of vehicles into the country had had negative impact on the auto industry as many auto plants could not produce up to installed capacity.
He said, “We have 200 million people in Nigeria buying 10,000 new cars in a year. This is an embarrassment.
“We have 600,000 used cars that are being smuggled into the country from the borders. This is a huge loss to the country in terms of employment.
“In India, we sell 10,000 new cars in two days. Nigeria can do much better.
“At Stallion, we have invested N130bn in this industry. We have the largest assembly plant in West Africa that can assemble 200,000 cars. We are not doing anything; we are assembling just about 4,000 cars now.
“We need to generate employment and this border closure is coming at a fantastic time for us. I commend the government for this action.
“It is a very tough decision to close the border but we have to go through this pain today for a better future.”
The Director-General, Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu, had said the agency was working towards having a vehicle finance scheme for Nigerians to acquire new vehicles.
He said the NADDC had reached an understanding with three banks for loans to be given to eligible Nigerians after they must have deposited 10 per cent of the cost of the vehicle.
The banks are Wema Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Jaiz Bank Plc.