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‘Reducing import duty on vehicles will cripple the automobile industry’

By AbdulGaniyu Alabi, Kaduna
27 November 2020   |   12:40 am
Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Limited has faulted the Federal Government's plan to reduce import duties and taxes on tractors, buses and passenger vehicles, say it would serve as a disincentive to local automobile plants.

Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Limited has faulted the Federal Government’s plan to reduce import duties and taxes on tractors, buses and passenger vehicles, say it would serve as a disincentive to local automobile plants. Chairman of PAN Nigeria, Ahmed Aliyu Wadada, who revealed this in Kaduna, urged the Federal Government to quickly reverse the plan.

The plan, which is aimed at boosting the economy, according to him, would create other challenges, including unemployment. He warned that such policy would crush the ailing automobile industry and that it runs against the tenets of local content in steel and petrochemical industries.

His words: “We got very disturbing information from the media aide to the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that the Federal Government is slashing down import duties and other taxes on tractors, buses and passenger vehicles. This is of concern to us on behalf of other automobile plants, as the leading automobile plant in Nigeria.

“Federal Government should take a look at the policy and reverse it for the betterment of Nigerians. Such policy somersault is injurious to the survival and development of the automobile industry, instead of creating employment opportunities it would create employment problems due to lower activities by automobile plants.”

He said tackling the socio-economic problem of Nigeria should be done in a more sustainable.

“If you create employment opportunities for the citizenry, it is a more effective and better way of dealing with the challenges. Nesbitt Investment Nigeria Limited recently acquired PAN with a plan to inject $150 million within three years. But with such policy in place, how will the company survive?” he queried.

He wonders how companies like Nesbitt Investment would be encouraged to inject such money when importation is wide open. He called on the Federal Government to reverse the policy and resuscitate the steel as well as the petrochemical industry, which is struggling to do.

He said: “We are doing our best to migrate from assembling to manufacturing, which is all-encompassing… No automobile plant does Complete Knockdown (CKD) because of the policy on the ground. But we plan to migrate from Semi Knockdown (SKD) to CKD.

“What encouraged Nesbitt Investment to acquire PAN from Asset Management Company of Nigeria, (AMCON) was the business environment and the policy of President Buhari’s administration, which, before now, was encouraging,” he said.