The auto assemblers have accused the Federal Government of luring many investors into setting up auto assembly plants in Nigeria after the introduction of the auto policy in 2014 but failed to sign the enabling bill into law to support the businesses.
They spoke at an interactive forum in Abuja, where auto chief executive officers and relevant Federal Government ministries and agencies met to assess the state of the nation’s auto industry and the way forward.
In a statement, the local assemblers blamed the Federal Government for making vehicle production and the general business environment unfriendly for indigenous manufacturers, since many auto companies shut down their assembly plants in Nigeria.
They said the Finance Act of 2020 introduced by the Federal Government that reduced import duty on fully built vehicles to the same rate as semi-knocked down components made it difficult for local assemblers to compete with FBU importers/dealers.
The Deputy Managing Director, CFAO Motors, Mr Kunle Jaiyesimi, also accused policymakers of jumping out of the country to hold meetings with vehicle manufacturers without discussing with Nigeria’s representatives of those foreign companies.
He said, “What is the fate of the auto policy now? When this initiative started in 2014, some of us raised concern then that it is not enough for some people to just wake up and put up a position paper about the industry without consulting widely the industry players and stakeholders.
“We should not be thinking about estacode (travel allowance) in most cases. We should look at how things can work in this country.
“Millions of dollars have been wasted in a world-class assembly plant for buses and trucks. Virtually all leaders of government agencies that visited the plant then were amazed by what they saw. Today, the plant have been converted to after-sale centre.
“There is no way we can compete with fully built vehicles that are coming into the country. Before, the import duty on FBU truck was 25 per cent and suddenly, they it was dropped to 10 percent, the same rate for SKD components of truck.”
The Executive Director, Nigeria Automotive Manufacturers Association, Remi Olaofe,in his statement wondered how the local auto assemblers could break even without any serious support and patronage from the government.
Credit: Punch Newspapers.