FG to review auto policy

The Federal Government on Monday said it would review the National Automotive Policy in order to set an effective implementation framework and incorporate a number of suggestions offered by local automakers and other stakeholders.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah disclosed this in Lagos at a one-day stakeholders’ forum on the controversial policy.

The auto policy, which was introduced by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013 to encourage auto firms to set up assembly firms in Nigeria, had been criticised by several stakeholders.

The policy raised the tariffs on imported vehicles from 20% to 70% thereby leading to the diversion of Nigeria-bound vehicles to the ports of neighbouring countries.

Nigerian ports, which used to handle about 400,000 units of vehicles annually before the introduction of the contentious policy in 2013 now handle less than 100,000 units annually.

But Enelamah said, “We are working with the stakeholders to achieve results. Going forward, government will come up with responses to the issues that were raised by the stakeholders in the forum. We will review the existing policy in line with all the issues raised at the forum.”

Monday’s event was attended by managing directors of many major auto companies who expressed worries at the smuggling of used vehicles into the country through unapproved routes.

On the issue of rising cost, the minister said the government was working on several initiatives aimed at creating the right operating environment, adding that there would be increased tax incentives.

“Government is working on engaging banks and other financiers to act as technical partners both in Nigeria and outside Nigeria to provide funding for operators. Nigeria will also leverage technology to fight smuggling of used cars across the border,” he said.

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