Used vehicle prices soar relative to freight, customs clearance costs

The prices of imported used vehicles, commonly referred to as Tokunbo, have become out of reach for most of the middle class.

Due to high customs clearance and handling charges, high tariffs, freight rate, security surcharges, insurance on cargoes bound for Nigeria, harsh port environment, continued closures of borders and illegal fees imposed by government agencies, the price of Tokunbo and new cars has tripled in the country, which is now exacerbated by the high exchange rate.

A survey of current vehicle prices shows that the 2004 Toyota Camry, which would normally go for 1.6 million Naira, is now selling for between 1.9 million Naira and 2.1 million Naira; Toyota Camry 1999/2001 previously sold at 1.4 million naira currently costs 1.8 million naira; Honda EOD, which sold for N1.4 million before is now N1.9 million to N2 million; The Toyota Corolla 04/05 sold for 1.9 million naira is currently between 2.4 and 2.5 million naira.

Toyota Sienna 1999/2000 was previously 1.3 million naira but currently ranges from 1.8 million naira to 2 million naira; Toyota Corolla 09/10, which was going for N2.4 million is now sold for N3 million; Lexus 330 2005 is now N2.4 million from its previous price of N1.9 million and Lexus 350 06/07 is now N4 million compared to N3.5 million.

In comparison, car prices in the Republic of Benin, Ghana and Togo have remained cheap and reasonable for typical incomes, which is why Nigerians travel to these countries to buy cars.

In addition, Nigerian importers and foreigners are diverting their ships to these countries due to the convenience of doing business in their ports, as well as low customs clearance fees, freight rates and insurance costs.

Most car dealers say that by next year the cost of a vehicle in Nigeria will no longer be a concern for the poor as the current situation could worsen even if a new government is elected in 2023 it would take a lot time to get things back to normal due to a number of policy inconsistencies.