James Emejo in Abuja
The House of Representatives thursday passed a motion urging the federal government to develop a policy and provide a timeline to make it compulsory for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to restrict procurement of cars to those manufactured or assembled in the country.
It further mandated its Committee on Industry to probe the reasons why the hitherto existing auto companies had so collapsed and make recommendations to the House.
The resolution followed a motion moved by Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama (PDP, Edo) on the need to prioritise the procurement of cars manufactured or assembled in Nigeria by MDAs.
He said the automobile market is a multi-billion naira venture in the country, given its large population and huge reliance on road transport.
He said government at all levels being the highest spender, remained a major buyer of automobiles in the country.
He expressed worry that over 95 per cent of the automobiles procured by MDAs are neither manufactured nor assembled in Nigeria.
He recalled that a couple of years ago automobile manufacturing companies like Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz and Peugeot had functional assembling plants in Nigeria.
He noted that the automobile manufacturing companies outside the country neither pay direct taxes nor are their activities beneficial to the economy of Nigeria.
He highlighted that the benefits of having automobile manufacturing companies operate manufacturing or assembling plants within Nigeria to include; technology transfer, employment for Nigerians, revenue generation through taxes, reduction in balance of trade deficit, increased GDP, safety specification among others.
The lawmaker further expressed concerned that Nigeria had been relegated to the role of a ready market for automobiles manufactured in more developed economies.
According to him, the only way the country can break off the shackles of being a perpetual market for other economies, is by pursuing a deliberate policy on automobiles which will restrict patronage of automobiles by MDAs to automobile brands from companies which have their manufacturing or assembling plants within the country.
Hon. Henry Archibong (PDP, Akwa-Ibom) said the problem appeared to be with value system in the country.
He challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to personally patronise locally made cars- such as Innoson- to set example for others.
Hon. Rimamnde Kwewun Shawulu (PDP, Taraba) said the country canâ€™t grow if the biggest spender- government donâ€™t patronise local cars, stressing that â€œWe canâ€™t afford to buy everything â€œ
Hon. Denis Agbo (PDP, Enugu) said it was important to establish why the existing auto firms had collapsed.
He said thereâ€™s currently no conducive environment in terns of power, infrastructure and security which are factors which foreign investors consider before intervening in any economy.
Hon. Sergius Ogun (PDP, Edo) said MDAs should be persuadd to patronise locally made car as this will have ripple effect on the economy- subsidiary industries thatâ€™ll emerge.
He said the executive should compel MDAs in 2019 to buy Nigerian cars.
Hon. Mohammed Monguno tasked the federal goverment to adopt protectionist policy to safeguard local manufacturing.
He said the National Assembly must also lead by example by insisting on locally assembled cars.