PAN laments tariff reduction on importation of vehicles

Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja

The Pan Nigeria Limited has kicked against the Federal Government’s approval for tariff review on importation of vehicles into the country, saying it will have a negative effect on the nation’s automotive industry.

PAN Chairman, Ahmed Wadada Aliyu, who addressed a media conference in Abuja on Tuesday, accused the Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) of misleading the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed with wrong statistics that eventually led to the decision to review the tariff.

While stressing that the domino effect of the tariff reduction is frightening, Aliyu disclosed that many assembly plants are exposed to about N100billion debts owed local banks as working capital support.

He said the banks are now jittery with the new automobile policy reversal, thereby triggering a recall on the loans.

He said that ‘’when the National Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA) discovered that a tariff has been inserted in the 2020 Finance Bill, a meeting was called by the office of the vice president in which NAMA was in attendance.

‘’It was agreed at the meeting that NAMA should put up a comprehensive presentation on the need of the automotive manufacturers with regards to capacity for effective performance. We are however, shocked to learn that the 2020 Finance Bill has been approved.’’

According to him, the reasons adduced by Ali for the tariff review are inadequate capacity of local automotive assemblers to meet demand of consumers, diversion of imported vehicles to other countries instead of the Nigerian market and high transport cost.

He however, maintained that the tariff review would become more detrimental to the competitiveness of the local automotive industry, asserting that it could eventually lead to the collapse of the Nigeria automotive industry, thereby placing other African countries as the new hub of automotive activities within the ECOWAS sub-region.

He accused the customs comptroller -general of conspiracy to flood Nigeria with fairly used vehicles.

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‘’We strongly believe that the controller- general succumbed to the lobby of ‘Tokumboh’ dealers who are glorified car dealers with no matching investment in local vehicle assembling, and without linkages and value chain components that can precipitate long term industrial growth of the Nigeria economy,’’ Aliyu submitted.

He listed the effects of the tariff reduction to include importers of fairly used vehicles flooding the country with all manner of old and obsolete vehicles, the country becoming a dumping ground for all manner of cars, buses and trucks.

He added that with the price reduction, there with be imminent closure of the 54 assembly plants in Nigeria and their eventual shut-down.

He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency reverse the tariff review.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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