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Friday, September 24, 2021

Pilot Phase Of VREG Has Commenced At NCS Kirikiri Light Terminal – Says Finance Minister

The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that the pilot phase of VREG has commenced at the Nigeria Customs Service Kirikiri Light Terminal.

She in a keynote address made the revelation at the recently held nation-wide seminar on the VREG in Abuja, which she said was meant to enlightened the public on vehicle transfer and processing.

According to her, VREG is powered by interconnected interactions of key agencies, parties, and stakeholders.

“These communication and connection channels facilitate the robust functionalities of the national vehicle registry. The stakeholder relationships that will facilitate the achievement of the goals of VREG include: Interchange of information with Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and state revenue systems on nationwide vehicle registration, ownership, history, and for proper road traffic regulation and violation enforcement.

The stakeholder relationships also include providing the Nigerian Customs with guidance in all clearing, duties, registration and redistribution of vehicle, targeted at ensuring that all vehicles are trackable and taxable. This is also to generate more revenues; aggregation and regularisation of vehicle insurance across the country when the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is integrated into VREG.

The stakeholder relationships also include “communication between Central Bank of Nigeria’s moveable asset registry and VREG, to provide dynamic records of vehicular assets thus boosting lendability to Nigerians; integration with Nigerian Police Force and security agencies such as Office of the National Security Adviser, to facilitate robust nationwide vehicular tracking, and comprehensive theft and other vehicle-related crimes reporting.

The national vehicle registry policy of the federal government “will, among others, serve as a single source of validation at the point of vehicle registration while capturing and storing all vehicular information over the life cycle of every vehicle for the purpose of effective motor vehicle administration, ensuring the enforceability of penalties placed on vehicles by regulators across board and ensuring accurate monitoring, documentation and tracking of vehicular activities across the nation to enhance national security.

Since the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning is saddled with the responsibility of managing the nation’s finances and revenue streams, Mrs. Ahmed stated: “In the midst of dwindling revenue orchestrated by falling oil prices, mono economy and further worsened by revenue leakages from unplugged loopholes such as customs duty payment evasion, it became imperative that the government be responsive to these issues.

Consequently, she stated further that in line with the strategic revenue growth initiative, the Ministry conceived and launched the VREG automated gateway portal, as a means to leveraging technology infrastructure to maximise revenue generation for Nigeria as well as to enhance national security such as curtailing kidnapping, utilisation of vehicles in crime perpetration and terrorism.

“For the records, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) confirmed that between 2015 to 2019, Nigeria imported an average of 300,000 vehicles with an average of 48 percent increase in import annually.

“Meanwhile, an additional 45 percent of vehicles are smuggled into the country annually, thus evading duty payment of which 40 percent of these vehicles are stolen.  A case study also revealed that between October, 2018 to September, 2019 the country recorded over N1.8 trillion value of used vehicle importation.

According to her, it was further revealed that Nigeria was the hub of stolen vehicles as vehicle identification number (VIM) of vehicles in the country were usually unregistered. Consequently, vehicles within the shores of the country cannot be traced.

In a bid to address these challenges, the ministry launched VREG, which is a national repository of vehicular information that seeks to provide a singular platform through which all relevant agencies shall reference vehicular data with a view to ascertaining ownership and value information, capturing vehicular exchanges and utilising the VIN of all vehicles in Nigeria. Additional value is also accruable to the federal government, state governments and related agencies via this policy.

Mrs. Ahmed assured participants of the unwavering commitment of the administration to the economic development and security of the country through deployment and implementation of such platforms. “We are, therefore, counting on your support and cooperation towards the successful implementation of this laudable, about- time technology-driven initiative.

Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi
S.A Media and Communications to the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning

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