No to total ban on tokunbo vehicles,says government
• ‘Nigeria assembled 36,919 cars, others in four years’
The Federal Government will not totally ban the importation of fairly used vehicles (tokunbo) until a robust finance scheme is launched to enable Nigerians to buy brand new ones, the Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Jelani Aliyu, has said.
At a stakeholders’ forum yesterday in Lagos, Aliyu expressed government’s commitment to implementing the national automotive policy but would introduce a vehicle finance scheme before the end of the year to cushion possible effects of total ban of the importation of second hand vehicles into the country.
Consequently, halting the ban would afford more Nigerians the opportunity to buy vehicles pending when the government will launch a finance scheme that is expected to make it possible for them to purchase brand new ones. Conversely, the pollution caused by these fairly used vehicles, one of the reasons for the ban, may escalate with more tokunbo cars, trucks and their likes on the roads.
Industry players at the forum bemoaned the poor implementation of the policy, warning that the sector could collapse if government refused to act fast on the many challenges in the sector.
The investors said it was sad that the country only produced 36,919 vehicles in four years despite installed capacity of 408,870 as of 2017. They blamed the situation on bureaucracy, particularly at the port and the Ministry of Finance, low patronage of made-in-Nigeria vehicles, lack of vehicle finance scheme and soft loans and harsh operating environment.
The stakeholders had said that the 10-year plan, initiated in 2013 to drive economic development through employment creation, contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), economic linkages, development of the small, medium and micro-enterprises (SME), skills development as well as innovation and technology transfer, could only achieve its aims if government banned or restricted importation to create market for locally assembled vehicles.
According to Aliyu, the NADDC would work closely with the other stakeholders to address the sector’s challenges and promote initiatives that would enable it to produce affordable vehicles that would ease the country’s mass transport challenges.
The Director, Policy and Planning of NADDC, Luqman Mamudu, said the sector was making progress. He lauded the passage of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) Bill by the House of Representatives and the move to do the same by the Senate. He said the government would curtail smuggling and ensure that vehicles are not imported into the country without roadworthiness certification from country of origin.
According to him, government will soon build automotive supplier parks as well as automotive test laboratories.
On local content, he said: “Three locations with a total land size of above 500 hectares has been acquired in Nigeria. They are Kaduna (230 hectares), Oshogbo (240 hectares) and Nnewi (80 hectares).”