Nigerian spent about N1.05 trillion on the importation of vehicles and spare parts in 2012, the National Automotive Council (NAC) said on Tuesday.
The Director-General of the Council, Alhaji Aminu Jalal, who revealed the figures on Tuesday in Kaduna when he led the newly inaugurated board members of the organisation on a facility visit to the Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria (PAN), said the development had resulted in low patronage for local car assembly plants, causing monumental losses to the country in terms of income.
“I want to tell you that last year alone, this country spent N550 billion in the importation of cars, buses and trucks. But that does not include Tractors, and military vehicles,” he disclosed.
“Again, we also spent about N500 billion on vehicle spare parts. In fact, on tyres alone, we spent N150 billion. And this year, the same trend is showing. This is not good for our country,” he explained.
The director general, however, expressed confidence that the new automotive policy recently approved by the Federal Executive Council would reverse the trend.
“With the new policy, we are going to support our car plants to produce very standard cars at globally competitive prices. This is going to greatly add to our local content,” the DG stated.
His words: “For example, to assemble a car here, you need about 2,500 parts. If many cars are produced and sold here, then it would encourage the local manufacturing of these parts, creating more wealth here and driving down the cost of the vehicles.
“By the time we start implementing this policy, you will see a very positive change in just six months,” he said.
The Managing Director of PAN, Alhaji Ibrahim Boyi, said that the company production had dwindled greatly.
“PAN, which once produced 90,000 cars in 1985, and had about 4,000 permanent employees, now produces about 3000 vehicles annually with its existing 250 members of staff,” he said.
Boyi attributed the problem of the company to the influx of second hand vehicles into the country, which made it difficult for local manufacturers to access the market.
He, therefore, called for a total ban on the importation of second hand cars “because that is what will make the local industry and the economy to grow.
“My appeal to the council is to ensure a thorough implementation of the new automotive policy which will enable the organisation achieve its aims and objectives,” Boyi said.
However, the Chairman, Board of NAC, Alhaji Abdulkadir Saleh, promised that the Council would ensure strict implementation of the new Automobile Policy.
According to him, the new policy will enforce government patronage of locally assembled cars that are certified to be of global standard.