Indications are rife that more than 2000 car dealer shops located in Benin Republic has closed shop following Nigeria’s ban on vehicle importation through the land borders.
According to findings by our correspondent in Seme, the nation’s border town with the Republic of Benin, many hitherto thriving car dealer shops in Cotonou have closed shop since there is no longer any business across the border again. This is even as findings revealed that many importers are losing billions of Naira to constant vehicle seizure and forfeiture triggered by increased Customs surveillance.
A cross border vehicle agent, Kingsley Anagor, who used to do businesses with many car dealers in Cotonou explained that more than half of his customers have parked up.
According to him, majority of the car dealers in Benin Republic are Lebanese. That’s the main business there. Many of them have invested so much in this business. Many have brought in many luxurious cars with the Nigerian market as their major destination prior to the ban.
“But recently, when I went visiting to collect some debt owed me by some of my clients who we have done businesses together, I was shocked to find out that many have closed shop. Some of my debtors have simply disappeared into thin air with my money”.
“There are over 3000 car dealer shops in Benin Republic. But as I speak to you, more than half has closed shops. Go to Benin Republic now, many are roaming the streets doing nothing.”
He says smugglers still go into Benin Republic to smuggle vehicles into Nigeria, but the success rate is very average these days.
With increased surveillance by Customs after the vehicle ban, buyers of vehicles across the borders now only pay completely after delivery due to the reduced success rate of smuggling. This has cost many of the car dealer’s in Cotonou billions of Naira, and has forced more than half of them to close shop.