Clearing a car at a Nigerian port is a necessary activity if you are importing a car, but this activity has become one of the scariest parts of car import as the personnel involved have become less trustworthy in recent years. Naijauto will always advise that a customs certified clearing agent should be used when clearing your cars but much more than that is the need to verify the processes and activities of these clearing agents to make sure that they've actually done the right thing.
According to individuals like Ikechukwu Darry Ogbonna, a Lagos-based car dealer, who says he can never trust a clearing agent to handle his transactions at the port, and he says so with reasons.
Narrating his bitter experience with clearing agents, Ikechukwu, the CEO of IVD Autos Limited, said Customs officials had impounded his vehicle because a clearing agent had failed to pay the correct import duty.
In Ogbonna's own words,
“I’ve had challenges with the Nigerian Customs Service. There was a day they came for their routine search and there was a car they found that wasn’t properly cleared and didn’t have genuine papers and so, it was taken away."
“I never knew that one of my agents didn’t complete the duties and used fake papers, so I was forced to pay additional charges on the vehicle in order to get it back"
With the huge volume of goods imported, clearing business is thriving in Nigeria
For Ikechukwu, that was one of the most challenging experience he has had in his 14 years as an automobile dealer in Nigeria. After the ordeal, he had vowed never to “trust any agent to do my clearing for me," he confirmed.
Ikechukwu was quoted as saying: “Whenever my cars arrive at the port and go through the clearing process, I still confirm the process to be sure it has been done so that similar mistakes don’t repeat themselves,” but not without adding that the business of selling cars is a "very lucrative business".
He says: “I’ve made a lot of money from it. I’ll advise anyone to invest in the automobile business, so long as they have a passion for it. If you don’t have the passion for it, don’t start it because if it flops or doesn’t turn out the way you want, you might end up with regrets,” he advised.
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