From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
National Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA), a body of local automobile manufacturing and assembly companies has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to authorise the amendment of the tariff portion of the 2020 Finance Bill, which it calimed was unfavorable and could lead to extinction of the companies.
NAMA fears it could result in closure of 54 assembly plants which has total installed capacity of 417,690 units per annum, in addition to loss of over 6,000 jobs. It said the decision could also roll back gains made by the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) in past years.
In addition, NAMA said all investments made over the years by these local assembly plants in excess of USD$1 billion may be lost, thus adding pressure on scarce foreign exchange reserves.
Chairman of PAN Nigeria, Ahmed Wadada Aliyu, told journalists in Abuja, the bill was designed to encourage importation of used cars otherwise known as “Tokunboh” into Nigeria via low import duty as against locally assembled vehicles.
He, however, accused the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, of misleading the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, with wrong statistics about the automotive industry who subsequently got the Federal Executive Council’s (FEC) approval for tariff review on the importation of vehicles.
PAN chairman maintained that the notion being promoted by Customs boss that local assemblers lacked capacity to meet local demands, amongst others, were wrong and should be disregarded.
He appealed to the Federal Government to salvage the huge investments and jobs that would be affected by the imminent closure of the local automobile companies.