Stakeholders in the automotive industry have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to give assent to the Automotive Policy Bill passed by the 8th Assembly in October 2018.
Speaking at the launch of the Automotive Design Challenge in Abuja, on Monday, a member of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr D.V.C. Obi lamented that the country was incurring huge losses due to the non-availability of local content market for vehicles in Nigeria.
Obi said “the original plan of the Auto policy was different from what is been presently implemented. I was part of those who drafted the policy when we drafted the policy, the wave for knockdown was for unfinished vehicle parts, not what they doing now, they will assemble vehicles outside the country and disassemble same and import them into the country and couple them back as assembled vehicles in Nigeria. I call this screwdrivers assembling.”
He noted that it was important for the country to have a legal framework that will guide the implementation of the auto policy but however, called for a holistic implementation particularly the inclusion of the original ideas like import replacement list which was meant to encourage the establishment of a local content market in Nigeria.
Obi stated further that the country’s present demand for vehicles was about 400,000 vehicles but only 9, 000 vehicles were assembled in 2018 causing the country to spend over $8 billion on importing vehicles.
Similarly, Senator Osita Ohinazor tasked the President on signing the Automotive Bill which according to him will settle the legal issues hindering the implementation of the auto policy and full participation of the private sector.
He said non-availability of a “legal framework has resulted in the inconsistencies in the implementation of the auto policy. The delay of the President to sign the auto policy bill has hindered the smooth implementation of the auto policy.”
Osita also stated that if the policy is implemented, “it will drastically reduce the price of cars in Nigeria such that a lot of people will be able to drive new vehicles. The target should be to have cars at the range of N3 to N4 million,” he noted.
On his part, the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Hon Agbola Ajayi commended the federal government on the closure of Nigerian border with some neighbouring countries noting that, “it will go a long to check the activities of smugglers who bring it these second-hand vehicles.”
He, however, said it “important for the government to put in place measures that will encourage participation and growth of the private sector in the automotive industry in the country.”