Automakers berate Senate’s N3.9b vehicle imports

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Senate could have saved suffering Nigerians 40 per cent of the eventual outlay and sustain at least 50 medium scale enterprises had it procured vehicles assembled locally. It is a rude shock to learn of the decision of the Senate to procure imported fully built Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) when much more affordable locally assembled alternatives were offered.

“Local vehicle assemblies need consistent patronage to increase capacity and expand facilities to produce more units at affordable prices and gradually move towards global competitiveness and self-sustainability.’’

These were the words of the Nigerian Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA) at a media conference in Lagos where it berated the Senate for the procurement of wholly imported SUVs at the detriment of local manufacturers.

NAMA Chairman Tokunbo Aromolaran, said the Senate’s action could lead to loss of 4000 jobs and roughly 50 ancillary industries  engaged by the home-grown Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs.)

The procurement of Toyota Land Cruiser VXR V8 SUVs valued at a whooping N3.9 billion, NAMA said, would hold down the automotive industry by at least four years.

Aromolaran wondered if the Senate was aware of a circular from the Office of the Secretary to the Government mandating all government agencies to procure made-in-Nigeria vehicles except if it is not available.

He urged the Bureau of Public Procurement to beam its searchlight on the Senate so as not to derail government’s policy.

He hailed the House of Representatives for embracing the OEMs products and driving locally assembled Peugeot vehicles and “putting aside personal aggrandisement at a tough time like this.

“They have by this action identified with the suffering of their brothers and families and essentially added value to our steel products, rubber extracts, glass sheets and plastics from our petrochemical plants.”

According to him, vehicle assemblies needed consistent patronage to increase capacity and expand facilities to produce more units at affordable prices and gradually move towards global competitiveness and self-sustainability.

ANAMMCO Limited Managing Director Maduabuchukwu Okeke said: “We cannot overemphasise the need for government support, adding that the quality of our products compare to similar products manufactured in various plants worldwide.”

Aderungboye Adewole of PAN Nigeria Limited said: “We have invested a substantial part of our resources and we wish the Senate reverses her decision and consider locally assembled vehicles.”

Prakash Karat, Plant Head, Stallion NMN, manufacturers of Nissan, highlighted the need for a dependable policy that could drive vehicle manufacturing and enhance sales, adding that local plants shouldn’t be struggling to sell their inventory when a larger percentage of the country’s population are youths.

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