PAN Nigeria Limited has decried the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), for a downward review of tariff on importation of vehicles into the country.
Chairman of PAN, Mr Ahmed Wadada-Aliyu criticised the approval told journalists on Tuesday in Abuja that the downward review would be detrimental to the long-term competitiveness of the automotive industry in the country.
He said that it could eventually lead to total collapse of the Nigeria automotive industry thereby, placing other African countries as the new hub of automotive activities within the ECOWAS sub-region.
He said the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed was communicated the wrong statistics about the automotive industry which led to the tariff review.
“When the National Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA) discovered that a tariff had been inserted in the 2020 Finance Bill, the vice president called a meeting in which NAMA was in attendance.
‘’It was agreed at the meeting that NAMA should put up a comprehensive presentation on the needs of the automotive manufacturers with regard to capacity for effective performance.
“We are however, shocked to learn that the 2020 finance bill has been approved’’, the PAN chairman said.
According to him, the reasons given by the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retired) for the tariff review are not satisfactory to warrant a reduction.
“The reasons he gave are; inadequate capacity of local automotive assemblers to meet demand of consumers, diversion of vehicles to other countries instead of the Nigerian market and high transport cost,’’ he said.
The PAN chairman accused the comptroller general of bowing to the pressure of ‘other stakeholders’.
‘’We strongly believe that the comptroller general succumbed to the lobby of tokunboh dealers who are glorified car dealers with no matching investment in local vehicles assemblers.
“And without linkages and value chain components that can precipitate long term industrial growth of the Nigeria economy,’’ Wadada-Aliyu said.
He warned that the reduction in tariff would increase tokunboh importers flooding the country with all manner of old and obsolete vehicles.
He also said that there would be imminent closure of the 54 assembling plants in Nigeria and their eventual shutdown.
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency, reverse the review.