•Suggests re-opening of land borders
By Oko Ebuka
THE United Berger Auto Dealers Association, UBADA, has said that daily car sales at its garages have dropped further by 98 per cent this year as against 92 per cent drop recorded last year.
In a chat with Vanguard Maritime Report in his office in Lagos, the chairman, National Dealers Forum, UBADA, James-Brown Nwabueke, said that the association is doing everything possible to improve in their sales but to no avail.
He said, “In a week, we hardly sell up to two or three cars. Sometimes, we don’t sell anything in some weeks. As I am talking to you now, it (the sales decline) has come up to 98 per cent. It is that bad. The road is very bad but we are doing a lot to make sure that we improve it. Most of the fillings you see here are self-help efforts on our own to improve the situation, but at the end of the day the trailers on the traffic queue destroy it.”
Nwabueke also said that this situation has driven away their customers who now purchase vehicles in other places like Festac and Western Avenue in Lagos, adding“if you want to enter this place now to buy a car, it will take you up to five hours; that’s why many people don’t come to Berger again; they go to Western Avenue or Festac to buy.”
He further said that if the current predicament is not tackled quickly, it will lead to increased unemployment and create an avenue for crime to thrive.
“We are trying to partner with the government to do the right thing because a lot of people are going to lose their jobs if nothing serious is done. From dealers to people washing cars, women doing businesses here, we have more than 3,000 people working in Berger who are fully employed and receive payment which keeps them out of all manner of criminal activities”, he said.
Nwabueke, however, recommended the opening of land borders which is going to boost the economy, salvage the congested roads leading to Apapa and Tin-Can Island wharfs and generate revenue to the federal government.
He said: “If the government opens our borders, Customs in collaboration with Auto Dealers Association, Lagos State chapter, will make sure that no vehicle that is not with duty paid value, DPV, will enter any market in Lagos State.
“This is not about the Customs being on the road to check what they want to check and allowing some to go free like while they collect their bribes. Often these Customs men would ask the smugglers to while a different team would still catch them up again somewhere ahead. The people that will say no to it are the people at the helm of affairs in the market. If you bring it we check it, if it is not with duty paid value, they are made to pay.
“Land border revenue generated will be going into the federal government purse instead of only shipping companies. The land border will boost the economy of this country. I wouldn’t like to see this country that I have known and lived in for many years to deteriorate the way is doing now”, he concluded.
In his reaction to this, the president of the UBADA, Metche Nnadiekwe, said the association was having hard times as they hardly sell up to three vehicles in a week. According to him, “the situation is getting out of hand, we just come here on a daily basis and sometimes we don’t even make any sales for the whole week. It is a terrible issue that requires urgent attention.”