‘Why Nigeria Needs Review Of Auto Policy’
A CONCERNED stakeholder in the automobile industry has called on the Federal Government and its agency, the National Automotive Council, to take urgent steps to review the current auto policy in the interest of the nation’s economy.
The call is coming against the backdrop that the auto policy, as currently being implemented, is not delivering on its projected benefits but rather harming the industry and the economy at large.
The policy came into effect early July last year with the aim of localizing the manufacturing of vehicles with assembly plants projected to roll out an aggregate of 300,000 vehicle units within the next two years and specific 23,000 vehicle units of various brands of automobiles produced by the plants between June and December 2014.
The policy, in the thinking of government, would not only help to reduce the pressure on foreign reserves by discouraging importation but also lead to massive job creation and enhance the wellbeing of the economy. Accordingly, with the full implementation of the auto policy, tariffs jumped from 20 per cent duty on passenger cars (PC) and 10 per cent on commercial vehicles (CV) to 70 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.
But in his evaluation of the policy at the weekend, Chairman of Oris Velvet Autos, Chief Alfred Omoghiade, said the Federal Government should as a necessity wade in and review the policy especially in view of the prevailing economic situation.
In a statement in Lagos, Omoghiade faulted the implementation of the policy, which, he said, has failed to yield the expected dividends because the local production of cars and vehicles as key elements of the policy is not being met, just as the nation is losing much revenue at the ports. He also pointed out that the policy has led to job loss at the ports and retarded business activities of other stakeholders.
“Having implemented the auto policy this far, it is becoming increasingly clear that the anticipated objectives are not being realised and it is a well thought out suggestion that the Federal Government and the National Automotive Council take a second look at it and review it accordingly. Based on certain fundamentals in the nation’s economy, the auto policy ought to have been given at least 10 years of incubation before its full implementation. This is to ensure that the right enabling environment is in place and consequently guarantee its success. But with the hurried implementation, we now see undue advantage given to a few people who are cashing in on the policy to milk the nation dry through unscrupulous practices to make huge money at the expense of the national economy.”