Finance Minister plegdes Nigeria won’t be hub for stolen vehicles anymore

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Nigeria Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed

By Akpan David, Calabar

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Samsuna Ahmed has said that Nigeria will no longer be a dumping ground for all sorts of vehicles, including the stolen ones.

Speaking in Calabar over the weekend, Ahmed said that the federal government has commenced the pilot phase of national Vehicle Registration (VREG) exercise in Lagos and would be followed shortly all over the country.

She said that the initiative to register and collect data of all manners of vehicles is to curb increasing numbers of stolen vehicles and other unregistered vehicles.

She insisted that all old and and new vehicles, including those ones driving through the country are necessarily to be registered in the new initiative, maintaining that it will not only curb criminality but that it is a way to rake in in revenue to the federal government.

Represented by the Head of Public Private Partnership division, Mrs Jummai Katagum when the ministry held a one zonal sensitisation seminar in Calabar on VREG with the theme: Understanding the VREG Automation Process.

She said the exercise is going to be mandatory, adding that it will be in collaboration with most key players and agencies in the sector.

“the VREG platform will be connected to multiple vehicle identification numbering databases and vehicle repositories to monitor all vehicles entering the country.

“This initiative is not only to boost dwindling revenue orchestrated by falling oil prices, worsened by revenue leakages from unplugged loopholes such tax and customs duty payments evasions but to ensure that all manners of vehicles are registered and their information such as age and brand of vehicles, engine numbers, etc collected into a central data bank accessible by all security agencies.

“The ministry launched the VREG Automated Gateway Portal to leverage on technology infrastructure and maximise revenue generation and enhance national security such as curtailing kidnapping, terrorism and utilisation of vehicles to perpetuate other crimes.”

She said VREG will now serve as a single source of validation and enforcement of penalties.

Earlier, Mr Aliyu Ahmed, permanent secretary at the ministry said stakeholders involved in the implementation of VREG include Vehicles Inspection Office, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Insurance Commission, Nigeria Police Force, Office of National Adviser, Nigeria Customs Service, Central Bank of Nigeria, state revenue systems and transportation commissioners forum.

He said the synergy will reduce vehicles theft and promote road traffic security and safety.

Governor Ben Ayade represented by commissioner for marine transport services, Oqua E. Oqua commended the initiative and said the state had since started security numbering of vehicles and their drivers in what they called Security Manifest.

Managing director of Fourcore Technology demonstrated the workability of the Registration machines and said exercise will shore up revenue.

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