The federal government has concluded plans to introduce the National Vehicle Registry (VREG) to replace the Central Motor Registry as controlled by the Nigeria Police Force.

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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, says the introduction of the National Vehicle Registry (VREG) policy of the Federal Government is to reduce vehicle theft, enhance national security and generate revenue for the government.

Ahmed stated this Friday in Calabar at the South South zone sensitisation seminar on VREG policy.

According to her, records showed that the country is the hub of stolen vehicles but that the policy would address anomalies associated with importation of vehicles, kidnapping and other crimes.

“In line with the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative, the ministry conceived and launched the National Vehicle Registry 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, utilization of vehicles in crime perpetration and terrorism.

“The National Bureau of Statistics confirmed that between 2015 to 2020, Nigeria imported an average of 400,000 vehicles with an average of 28 percent increase annually. While an additional 40 percent are vehicles smuggled into the country annually, thus evading duty payment. 22 to 30 percent of these vehicles are stolen.”

The minister, who was represented by the Head, Public/Private Partnership division of the ministry, Jumai Katagum, said, “It was further revealed that Nigeria was the hub of stolen vehicles as Vehicle Identification Number of vehicles in the country were usually unregistered, consequently, vehicles from the shores of Nigeria cannot be traced.”

She said VREG is “national repository of vehicular information that seeks to provide a singular platform through which all relevant agencies shall reference vehicular data with a view of ascertaining ownership and value information, capturing vehicular exchanges and utilising the vehicle information number of all vehicles in Nigeria.”

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Aliyu Mohammed, said key agencies, parties and stakeholders involved in VREG implementation include Vehicle Inspection Officer, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Insurance Commission, Nigeria Police Force and the Office of National Security Adviser, Nigeria Customs Service, Central Bank of Nigeria amongst others.