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Reps approve tariff increase on imported cars

By The Citizen


The House of Representatives Committee on Industry on Thursday approved the new automotive policy of the Federal Government which seeks to encourage the businesses of local manufacturers by increasing the tariff on imported cars.

The Chairman, House Committee on Industry, Mr. Mohammed Onawo, in a statement in Abuja by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment said the implementation of the policy would attract new investments to the sector, protect local automotive manufacturers and create employment.

'The House Committee on Industry is very insistent on the fact that anybody who is going to import a complete car is going to pay a higher tariff than somebody who is going to manufacture here because that is the only way that you will be able to protect who is going to create employment here,' he was quoted as saying.

Onawo, who was accompanied by 12 other members of the committee on an oversight visit to the ministry, said he was pleased to hear about the new measures.

He added, 'Of particular interest to me is how to use tariff to protect local manufacturers. One of the major challenges facing those that are manufacturing cars in Nigeria is the tariff structure.

'If somebody who is importing a complete car is paying less than somebody who is manufacturing, then you are not encouraging the person who is manufacturing. With the new measures being put in place by the ministry, I am sure it will protect those investors who are willing to come to Nigeria and invest by assembling or manufacturing vehicles here.'

In his response, Aganga said the ministry would continue to partner stakeholders in the implementation of its Industrial Revolution Plan.

He stated that the new automotive policy would have a catalytic effect of fast-tracking industrialisation, creating jobs and generating wealth for the country.

The minister said, 'The new measures to transform the automotive sector is part of our industrial revolution plan, which is integrated, holistic and based on areas where we have comparative and competitive advantages as a country.

'Likewise, the potential for Nigeria's automobile industry plan is to save as much as N550bn ($3.5bn) through the reduction of imports. We also have the regional export potential into the West and Central African market, coupled with the availability of a large and trainable workforce.

'Recognising the strategic and catalytic effects of the automotive industry in industrialisation, job creation and wealth formation, among others, emerging economies like Brazil, China, Malaysia, India, Iran, Indonesia, Thailand and South Africa took deliberate steps to develop their automotive industry between the 1960s and the 1980s. Nigeria started about the same time in the 1970s. These countries have, however, developed well-advanced automotive industries now, in contrast to Nigeria.'