Auto policy proposed review ignites fresh controversy

   The resolve by the Federal Government to review ‘some aspect’ of the automotive policy is generating anxiety among investors and stakeholders in the sector.
  The technical committee on the review under the chairmanship of Director General of National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) met last Wednesday.
  Though tariff is not being considered for review by the committee, some stakeholders in the maritime sector are putting pressure on the Federal Government to review downward tariff structure citing drop in revenue, smuggling, diversion  and ‘near collapse of the economy’.
   In an exclusive chat with on Friday, Director of NADDC incharge of Policy and Planning Department, Luqman Mamudu, explained that tariff structure is not being considered for review by the committee.
 Explaining further on the committee’s terms of reference and other issues, Mamuda said: “The reduction in tariff differential between knocked down and fully built is what is attractive to OEMS and some of them have invested”.
 He added: “Lowering (the tariff) will indicate policy somersault. If lower, the investors will retreat home and rely on higher home country export incentive to override our tariff and our industry crushed.
 “The tariff remain as it is in NAIDP, the discussion is on how to remove ambiguity likely to encourage abuse. The terms of reference is to examin constraints that impede progress with implementation of the NAIDP.
 “These are listed to include the menace of used vehicles import which limits market access, quick lauch of Automobile asset purchase, clearer customs administration procedure and smuggling”.
  Speaking on Thursday during her tour of facility at Tin Can Port in Lagos, the  Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Usman  said: “We are discussing with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment regarding  the automobile policy, because federal government needs to review some of its policies to determine the benefits that will accrue to the government following the period of implementation.”
    Usman added: “There’s been a period of implementation of the automobile policy. There’s a need to relook at it to determine the opportunities lost by the federal government vis a vis the automotive industry. This is ongoing.
“We’ll aggressively sustain this discussion to ensure that in a timely manner the government concludes its assessment of this policy and takes a decision on the way forward as it relates to the revenue being lost within the Authority and also the development of the automobile industry itself”..
  A highly place source informed that the Federal Government is under serious pressure to review the policy.
  The source said: “The Federal Government is losing revenue. The truth is how many Nigerians can afford new vehicles? Are the Banks adequately positioned to provide loans for vehicle purchase?  The Government is losing revenue to other countries and smugglers. This is the challenge we are facing as a country”,