…Seeks implementation of consumer finance scheme
By ADEWALE SANYAOLU
Nigeria is losing an estimated $4 billion in foreign exchange annually to imported automobiles, the Nigerian Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA) has said.
The staggering amount of foreign exchange loss was contained in a memorandum sent to President Muhammadu Buhari by NAMA on the state of and way forward for the automotive assembly industry.
The association said the adoption and diligent implementation of the automotive policy will move the country away from being a consumer oriented nation to a productive powerhouse while stemming the tide of the $4 billion foreign exchange loss.
To further arrest the forex depletion, the association called on Buahri to flag off the consumer vehicle finance scheme, adding that the implementation of the scheme would enable Nigerians readily access the locally assembled new car market.
This, according to NAMA, is in line with global best practice, capable of releasing the citizens from the stranglehold of the used car merchants and simultaneously spurs the growth of the local car assembly and component manufacturing industries.
NAMA regretted that the industry has been in a state of coma for 20 years till 2013 when an effort was made to revive it through the National Automotive Policy (NAP). The association, comprising automotive assembly plants and auto component manufacturers, worked tirelessly with the previous government to formulate the auto policy.
‘‘As with many programmes in the developing world, implementation has not matched the substance of the policy. The auto policy, if diligently implemented, will transform Nigeria’s auto industry, develop skilled manpower that will lay the foundation for more pervasive industrial development across sectors and create employment for our creative, solution oriented and technically gifted youths.
“Over time, we will become self-sufficient in automotive engineering as case studies abound world over. We can borrow a leaf from the experiences of Brazil, India, South Africa, Thailand and Egypt, who were forced to adopt specific policies over defined periods to grow their auto industries,” NAMA said.
In this regard, the association called on government to maintain the thrust of the auto policy by curtailing the influx of second-hand vehicles to create an environment conducive to the take-off and stabilisation of local industry.
It equally told the government to grant fiscal incentives to local manufacturers as a result of dearth of infrastructural facility in the industrial sector, making the cost of local production exorbitant and uncompetitive.
The fiscal incentive, according to NAMA, should include a tax holiday to investors in the automotive sub-sector in recognition of the higher cost of production and the positive value adding impact of production facilities to the economy.
On smuggling, NAMA said the control of smuggling across our borders is crucial to maintaining a stable auto market and sustaining government revenue from importation, advising that a critical review be made of the nation’s border patrols to ensure they are properly armed to secure the borders and collect all revenues due.
Source : SunOnline