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The National
Automotive policy promoted and implemented by the last administration literally
divided Nigeria into two with some kicking against it with their last breath
and others also supporting it with their whole might.
The
government’s plan as stated by the National Automotive Design and Development
Council, (NADDC) was basically to encourage the local production and assembling
of automobiles in Nigeria, create jobs and industries through this avenue,
create accelerated technological development of the Nigerian economy, conserve
scarce foreign exchange, technological acquisition among others.

Dr Oscar Odiboh.

This led to the introduction of a 70% increase in the tariff hitherto paid for the importation of cars into the country. Trust Nigerians to cry blue murder. They didn’t disappoint. 

Though
several months down the line, some companies have started assembling cars right
here in Nigeria, for instance, Kia, Nissan, Stallion Motors, Shachman etc have
all started selling cars they assembled on our soil.
But
many Nigerians are yet to feel the impact of this policy as the cost of
vehicles increased dramatically, both used and brand new cars. This has led to
the questions on a lot of lips if truly the policy can stand the test of time,
is in the interest of the masses and had led to many calling for a review of
the policy.
Adding
his opinion to that of the masses, an auto expert and consultant, Dr Oscar
Odiboh, has said a review of the tariff should be expected, arguing that it was
hurriedly put in place by the last regime, and should therefore be suspended.
“The
high tariff (on imported vehicles) should make itself necessary; it should not
be forced down on the people. It should be suspended and introduced in
phases-one to a five year-period,” he said.
Odiboh,
who is the Managing Director, Newsletters Nigeria Limited, however, said the
auto policy was a necessity for the development of the nation’s industry and
the good of the economy.
“The
project will take Nigeria from a lower stage to the next level and sit us among
top economies of the world, “he stated.
But he
warned that unless the implementation of the policy was systemic and allowed to
follow due process, it could derail the project.
He
said, “since this government says it has come to change things, it must change
the policy. It is not a yam and beans policy. You must give people time.
“It
requires certain basic things to be put in place. Power is necessary, there are
other infrastructural facilities that will make the system run efficiently.
Those things must be in place before enforcing the import tariff”.
Odiboh
alleged that some firms had obtained the auto assembly plant licenses to enable
them to bring in fully built vehicles at low tariff and labeling those vehicles
as being locally assembled.
We
will love to hear from you on this. Are you for or against the policy?
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