VENTURES AFRICA – In respect to the new automotive policy, American automobile company, General Motors, stated that the rewards of a successful automobile manufacturing company cannot be reaped except certain crucial measures are taken by the Nigerian government concerning the policy.
The American automobile manufacturer said through its African Managing Director, Mr. Mario Spangenberg at the announcement of Kencept Autocenter Limited as the distributor of its Isuzu brand in Nigeria, that it was interested in investing in the assemblage of vehicles but it would be impossible to take such a business decisions except certain measures were put in place.
The automotive policy, which is aimed at discouraging imports of fully assembled automobiles and encourage local manufacturing, has generated controversy among local dealers who specialize in importation of used cars since a new 70 percent duty tariff is imposed on imported used cars.
Spangenburg expressed scepticism about the consistency and sustainability of the policy since it is reminiscent of a similar one back in the 70’s that failed.
“We want to take our time to study the policy and get a better insight into if the political will to support it. How are we sure that the policy is sustainable? We were here before but we had to leave the market.”
According to him, importation of both used and new cars should be banned to allow for a thriving local industry. However the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, refuted such assertion, noting rather that a ban cannot be enforced until an alternative is put in place.
“We must work towards providing alternative cars before we even consider placing a ban on tokunbo cars. So, in Nigeria, we have not banned the importation of fairly used vehicles yet. If we slow down the demand, it will slow down the pace of growth.”
The policy has so far attracted positive disclosures from global automobile makers, with major car brands like Toyota, South Korean auto giant, KIA Motors, Indian auto manufacturers, TATA Motors, Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Limited revealing plans to establish manufacturing plants in Nigeria.