Reducing imported vehicles tariff will worsen economy, NAMA warns – Newstrends
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Reducing imported vehicles tariff will worsen economy, NAMA warns

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The Nigerian Automobile Manufacturers Association has warned that the plan by the Federal Government to cut the import tariff on vehicles will worsen the nation’s economy.

Executive Director of NAMA, Remi Olaofe, who sounded the warned, specifically said it would lead to loss of more jobs; kill the local automotive industry gradually being revived, as well as make Nigeria a dumping ground for all manner of imported vehicles.

Olaofe, who spoke at a capacity training programme organised by the Nigeria Automobile Journalists Association (NAJA) in Lagos, said NAMA was already engaging the government on the need to rescind this decision as encapsulated in the new finance bill.

His viewed tallied with Chief Innocent Chukwuma’s, Chairman, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited (IVM) in a recent interview with journalists, who said that the reduction of the tariff would be a disincentive to investments, in addition to setting Nigeria’s automotive industry back by at least 10 years.

Chukwuma described the government’s plan as a “shocking decision,” stressing that it would lead to the forced closure of many auto plants in the country.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently announced the plan to reduce the import duties and levies on buses, tractors and other vehicles as contained in the 2020 Finance Bill.

The government said it would reduce the tariff on tractors from 35 per cent to 10 per cent; goods transporting vehicles, from 35 per cent to 10 per cent; and those for transporting people, from 35 per cent to five per cent.

Olaofe urged the government to revive the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) 2013 for the growth of the automobile industry in Nigeria, stressing that policy inconsistency had been the bane of growth of the country.

He recalled how the announcement by the FG of the “National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) in 2013 and the subsequent increase in the import tariffs on Fully Built Vehicles (FBUs) attracted the interest of leading auto assemblers.

“With most of the newly established Auto Assembly plants still at their teething stage, the automobile industry was rattled when the content of the proposed finance bill was released to the public.”

Olaofe said reducing the imported vehicles tariff could “result in reversal of huge foreign investments being channelled to this sector of the Nigeria economy; (put) pressure on the already scarce foreign exchange with its attendant pressure on our trade balance; avoidable gross failure of ancillary industries that largely depend on the auto assemblers; worsened unemployment from layoffs and business failures; and Nigeria returning to vehicles dump ground.”

Olaofe lamented that while Nigeria was still toying with the implementation of NAIDP, the neighbouring West African country, Ghana, which “borrowed Nigeria’s automotive bill,” had turned its own into a law with automobile companies jostling to establish plants in that country.

With this position, he argued that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2021 would further weaken the Nigerian economy as goods and products from Africa could come in without restrictions.

He said, “It can’t be in the interest of this country to say that the NAIDP Bill 2013 is about to collapse. There is no single part of vehicles that is manufactured in this country. We used to produce tyres, they are no more here. We produced batteries in this country before, it has become a history. In Kaduna, we had a company assembling Peugeot vehicles, it is no more there. The assembling plants are not doing anything again.

“There is no economy in the world where you see vehicles manufacturing go from zero to a Complete Knock Down (CKD); there is a process. It is a driven process.  Money is involved. Automotive policy is the best we have; but we want to destroy it. This is very scary.

By next year, we are starting with the AfCFTA . What is going to be the hope of this country? Ghana borrowed the auto policy of Nigeria, Ghana has commenced implementation. I was in Rwanda last year to see its assembly plant; it is still this Semi Knocked Down (SKD). The issue is that you cannot have an auto assembly without the market. We have got the market here.”

He urged Nigeria to use its market to its advantage, adding that other African nations were targeting the market

Railway

Apprehension as passengers train derails in Kaduna

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JUST-IN: Abuja-Kaduna train terails, passengers stranded

A passenger train on Sunday derailed at Jere along the popular Abuja-Kaduna route, leaving the travellers stranded in the mountainous area.

The train was said to have left Kaduna at 8.05am heading for Abuja but developed fault about an hour later and stopped at Jere.

It was not immediately clear how many passengers were inside the train.

It was however learnt that more armed security personnel had been mobilised to the area in addition to those on the train to allay the fears of the passengers and their family members.

Senator Shehu Sani, in an alert raised on his verified X handle, stated, “A Kaduna morning train derails near Jere but engineers are attending to it.”

Workers of the Nigerian Railway Corporation have been drafted to the spot to repair the train, with about three carriages off the tracks.

Security personnel, including soldiers and police officers, are also on the spoke to keep watch over the passengers and the train.

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Lanre Shittu Motors to roll out high-tech CNG buses next month

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Lanre Shittu Motors to roll out high-tech CNG buses next month

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Lanre Shittu Motors Ltd, Taiwo Shittu, says the company will next month (June) roll out Compressed Natural Gas-powered buses across the country to ease public transportation.

According to him, the move is fallout of the Presidential CNG initiative (Pi-CNG), as part of palliative intervention of the Bola Tinubu administration to provide succour for the masses after fuel subsidy removal.

The LSM MD who spoke recently from Havard Business School, expressed delight at a number of measures taken by the current government towards rejuvenating the various auto assembly plants in the country with specific attention to CNG buses to boost public transportation.

Following a presidential directive that CNG buses must be a priority and preferred mode of transport by the various ministries, departments and agencies, he said the government had shown its determination to encourage the local auto assembly plants.

Taiwo Shittu said during the telephone interview that by June 2024, Lanre Shittu Motors would be deploying large units of the LSM branded CNG buses in airports across the country and for other mass transportation needs.

He disclosed that LSM mulled the idea of CNG vehicles and saw it as the future of the local automotive industry many years ago because of the abundance of natural gas in the country as well as the economic benefits of CNG buses to both operators and commuters.

Taiwo Shittu assured that there are plans to start assembling LSM-branded CNG buses in Lagos using the best technology like in other parts or the world.

Apart from assembling CNG vehicles from start to finish at the LSM plant, he said the company has enough kits capable of converting petroI-powered automobiles to the CNG vehicles.

He assured prospective customers of quality after-sale maintenance of any stock rolled out from the LSM assembly plant.

For over 40 years., LSM through the visionary founder and chairman, Late Alhaji Lanre Shittu, has carved an enviable niche within the automotive industry through its quality products and services.

Taiwo Shittu said introducing the LSM-branded buses was one of the many ways of immortalising him.

He said, “We have taken proactive steps in the past years to offer quality training to our technicians at various stages, levels and categories of auto assembly and after-sale maintenance services.

“Upon graduation and certification, the technicians are also deployed not only in the various LSM offices nationwide, they are also being sought after by other industry stakeholders within the nation’s automotive value chain.”

The management of Lanre Shittu Motors says that all branches of the company are currently fully equipped with state-of-the-art CNG conversion equipment while orders have been activated and running seamlessly.

Meanwhile, the first set of CNG vehicles will be inaugurated during the present administration’s first anniversary on May 29, 2024.

The Federal Government allocated N100 billion from the N500 billion palliative budget to purchase 5,500 CNG vehicles (buses and tricycles), 100 electric buses, and over 20,000 CNG conversion kits.

This funding also supports the expansion of CNG refilling and electric charging stations.

 

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Naira falls to N1,515/$ on parallel market

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Naira falls to N1,515/$ on parallel market

The Naira yesterday depreciated in the parallel market to N1,515 per dollar from N1,495 per dollar on Wednesday.

Similarly, the Naira depreciated to N1,485.66 per dollar in the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market, NAFEM
Data from FMDQ showed that the indicative exchange rate for NAFEM rose to N1,485.66 per dollar from N1,462.59 per dollar on Wednesday, indicating N23.07 depreciation for the naira.
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The market recorded an intraday high of N1,510 per dollar and an intraday low of N1,401 per dollar, resulting in a bearing of N109 per dollar.

The volume of dollars traded (turnover) increased by 35.7 percent to $167.55 million from $123.45 million on Wednesday.
Consequently, the margin between the parallel market and NAFEM rates narrowed to N29.34 per dollar from N33.59 per dollar on Wednesday.

Naira falls to N1,515/$ on parallel market

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