Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bad Economy: Abuja Millionaires Auction Exotic Cars To Raise Cash

The cash crunch in Nigeria, particularly in Abuja, has made many owners of exotics cars to put up some of their vehicles for sale in a bid to raise cash, car dealers in Abuja have said.

According to the dealers, this was despite the fact that the sale of vehicles in the Federal Capital Territory has dropped drastically.

Different dealers who spoke with our correspondent in separate interviews explained that politicians and civil servants were affected by the development.

It was learnt that the aides of many politicians in the city who purchased vehicles and agreed to effect payments based on instalments had not been able to do so, even when dealers forced them to comply.

Ehiremhen Patrick, a car dealer whose business outlet is located close to the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Herbert Macaulay Way, Abuja, stated that the car sales business in the city had slowed down tremendously.

When asked if residents were returning their cars in order to raise cash, he said, “People are returning their vehicles in order to raise funds. It was reported in Saturday PUNCH that some people had started selling their houses and lands to raise funds for the school fees of their wards. It is same for cars, people are looking for money too by offering up their vehicles for sale. But where are the buyers?

“The fact is that there is no money in the country. You can even go to where we sell our cars and you will notice that a lot of vehicles there have remained unsold. I have some cars that have been there for almost six months and nobody is asking how much we are selling. Even when the prices are reduced, nobody is willing to buy.”

Patrick said many potential buyers did not even have the cash to pay.

He added, “In fact, for some, it may take up to a year before they can make complete payment going by what is on ground at present. For instance, in December we didn’t sell anything, our sale was zero, unlike what we recorded in December 2014.

“So sales have dropped drastically in Abuja. You know those who live in Abuja, it is either you are a politician or a civil servant and when civil servants are not paid salaries and all the leakages have been blocked, where then do you expect them to get money? For the politicians, many of them are afraid of even buying luxury cars.”

Patrick went on to state that “Some of their (politicians) aides that bought cars from us are still owing us and despite making it installment payment, many of them still can’t meet up. In fact, there are some payments that were supposed to be completed in December but as I speak to you now they’ve not been able to conclude the payments. Even when you drag them they don’t have the money.”

Another dealer, who’s showroom is located around the Gwarimpa axis of the Kubwa/Zuba expressway in Abuja, Mr. Yahaya Yakubu, said there was “serious cash crunch in Abuja and virtually everyone in this city is lamenting.”

He said, “There is no money and this has contributed to the drastic fall in car sales. It is a serious matter.”

When asked to explain how car sales used to be before the present era of cash crunch, Yakubu said the poor patronage for cars in Abuja started in January 2015 while the country was preparing for the general elections.

He said, “This started towards the preparation for the election. I remember, in December 2014, I sold more than 10 cars. But by January 2015 when we started preparing for elections, people became apprehensive and started to hoard money. When the country started getting close to the election, we (car dealers) started noticing serious drop in patronage.”

Another car dealer at the same Gwarimpa axis, who simply gave his name as Suleiman, said although many residents were putting their vehicles up for sale, there were still few or no buyers.

“Many exotic cars you see here were bought as brand new by their owners, but they can’t continue maintaining them when there is cash crunch. That is why they put them up for sale, but the irony is that there are no buyers because people don’t have money like before,” Suleiman said.


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