NAMA Condemns LCCI Call for Review of National Auto Policy

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The Nigerian Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA), has condemned a statement credited to Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) that the National Auto Policy was responsible for an increase in the prices of vehicles.

“The attention of the Nigerian Automotive Manufacturers Association has been drawn to an interview granted by the Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Muda Yusuf ascribing the increase in prices of vehicle to the National Auto Policy,” said a statement by NAMA, signed by its ED, Remi Olaofe.

“We were taken aback that a macro issue of the magnitude of prices of imported vehicles could be so narrowed to a single parameter like the National Auto Policy by a respected LCCI.

The statement said in coming up with the National Auto Policy, a number of issues were put into consideration with the pivot being to redirect the Nigerian economy from an “over import dependent economy to a producing economy.”

One of the greatest challenges facing the Nigerian economy has always been narrowed down to its overdependence on foreign goods with its attendance pressure on its Foreign Reserve and Exchange Rate.

The Auto Policy was therefore evolved to reawaken the moribund Auto Assembly Plants that were hitherto operating at high capacity in core geographical zones of the country and also encourage major vehicle importers to attract their Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to commence assembly of the vehicles in Nigeria.

The statement said, “It is a known fact all over the world that a strategic decision of this nature calls for incentives and disincentives to the Local Assemblers and Importers respectively for which variation of duties, tax holidays, access to funds at cheaper rates amongst others could be employed.

“This is not new to the Nigerian economy as we have seen this done in Textiles, Furniture, Food, etc to the point of placing some items of import on “Not valid for foreign exchange list” to protect the local manufacturers.

“A simple market survey would confirm that the prices of locally assembled vehicles are far lower than stated by the DG LCCI, a direct consequence of the NAIDP.

“While appreciating the recommendations later made by the DG towards the full realisation of the genuine intents of the Auto Policy, we are strongly opposed to the overblown implication of Auto Policy on prices of vehicles as he enthused. This can only be taken as a bias position against the assembly plants which is most unfortunate.

“The DG cannot rely on prices of auto importers without any local presence or value added to discredit the policy. It is actually the intention of the Policy to discourage wholesome imports of automobiles at the expense of local industrial activities as well as growth and development of local component manufacturers.

“We would therefore invite the DG to look at the multiplier effect of getting our Auto Assembly plants off the ground in terms of the number of OEMs that will commence intensive manufacturing in Nigeria, the ultimate crash in prices of the now Nigerian Assembled vehicles, the job opportunities to be created at various strata of the Auto industry down to the creation of a perfect and well controlled market for fairly used Nigerian Vehicles, the reduced pressure on our foreign exchange, etc, etc.

“We remain resolute that Nigeria is on the right course with the Auto Policy while we continue to seek government’s support in the speedy takeoff of the Auto Finance Scheme and an unalloyed patronage of the Nigerian Auto Assemblers by every tier of the government as directed by the Presidency.

“Our common focus as a nation should be on the holistic implications of our policies along the macro-economic lines,” the statement said.