The Punch Newspaper quoted the Director-General, National Automotive Council, Alhaji Aminu Jalal, saying that Nigeria spent about N1.2tn on the importation of various brands of vehicles last year. He said the vehicles ranged from fairly used cars, otherwise known as tokunbo, to brand new cars, excluding tractors and military vehicles. He also noted that the vehicles were imported by the three tiers of government, private & corporate organisations as well as individuals. However, he also claimed that N150billion of the amount was spent on imported tyres only!!
I want to tell you that last year alone, this country spent N550bn on the importation of cars, buses and trucks. But that does not include tractors and military vehicles. Again, we also spent around N500bn on spare parts. In fact, on tyres alone, we spent N150bn. And this year, the same trend is showing.
This is not good for our country. 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. 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 impressive positive change in just six months.
It’s pretty obvious all this statement are geared towards looking for an excuse to ban importation of cars in the country. As usual, the government only sees banning of items as the best way to promote local content even there is no clear data that indicates it has worked.