Importers back FG’s new auto policy

The Federal Government and automobile importers have agreed to have a collective action plan for the implementation of the new automotive policy.
A statement by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, on Tuesday, said the stakeholders came to the agreement during a meeting with the minister, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, in Abuja.
Government had on October 3, 2013, announced the introduction of the new auto policy to discourage the importation of cars and encourage local manufacturing of vehicles, which would also gradually phase out used cars, popularly known as ‘tokunbo’.
Aganga said the meeting provided an opportunity to solve some lingering issues, adding that it afforded the concerned parties the opportunity to understand what their concerns were.
He said both parties had agreed on mutually beneficial strategies to ensure the successful implementation of the policy in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda.
He said, “They have all endorsed the policy but what they are asking for is a level playing ground for every player in the auto sector and also to have more input in the implementation of the policy.

“This is not a problem at all because the next step we usually take with all the policies that we have is to have an industry group to monitor and work with us in the implementation stage. So, we have set up a committee to work with us in the implementation of the policy.”
The Chairman, Coscharis Motors Limited, Mr. Cosmos Maduka, said the new auto policy was one of the best things that had happened in the country in recent times.
He said major auto importers were not opposed to the policy but needed a level playing ground in addition to being carried along in the implementation of the policy.
He said, “Considering the size of our country, with over 167 million people, one million units of vehicles in the automobile industry are very low compared to what you can see around the world. Once the capacity is developed, the automobile industry will be the second biggest industry in Nigeria. If we are not ready to produce, it means that we have thrown away our future.
“If a chicken is afraid to come out without getting its head out of the shell, it will remain there and die. So, we support the policy totally. Our concern is for the government to provide a level playing field for every interested party.”
Mr. Olutoyin Okeowo of the Metropolitan Motors said the whole Original Equipment Manufacturers’ representatives in the country had restated their commitment to support the minister on the new policy.