By Zika Bobby
CONTRARY to reports that the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) policy was punitive and responsible for the increase in smuggled vehicles, the National Automotive Design and Development Council, (NADDC) has said that the agency was shocked that the policy has been blamed for increased prices of imported used vehicles, otherwise known as ‘tokunbo’ when the provision to levy them in the NAIDP has not yet been applied.
Director of Policy and Planning Council, Mr. Luqman Mamudu, said that the agency was yet to impose levies on tokunbo vehicles and as such could not have been responsible for the hike in price.
Mamudu, who described the report as mischievous, also said that, on the contrary, the policy was meant to give Nigerians access to cheaper, new vehicles through a gradual increase in volume and local content, adding that used vehicles could only fall in the NAIDP net when palliative programmes built into the strategic plan are implemented.
He explained that the council was concerned about the issue of smuggling because of the damage it could do to ongoing investments in the automotive industry, which government means to consolidate for sustained growth.
He said: “The practice of importing used vehicles and even second-hand clothes is not just right in Nigeria and indeed Africa of the 21st century. The technology for autos is practically off the shelf. Installed capacity for assembly has grown admirably from 60,000 in 2014 to over 360,000 today under the policy. NADDC is working on growing operational capacity, which has grown from a mere 1,200 vehicles in 2013 to 15,000 as at 2016. Efforts are ongoing to improve on this within the limits of investment constraints. Council should not be distracted. However, council is concerned about the menace of smuggling and is collaborating with the Nigeria Customs Service through the integration of our IT platform with its trade portal.”