An automotive communication consultant, and university lecturer, Dr Oscar Odiboh, has advised the Federal Government to drop its auto policy since the policy was not achieving its set goals of providing new vehicles to its citizenry.

Odiboh who spoke at Nigerian Auto Journalists Association annual training on the topic “Zero patronage, zero traffic and redefinition of patriotism: A look at Nigeria’s automobile industry” asked what was the solution to the auto policy conundrum. Odiboh also observed that about N2.5 trillion may have been wasted due to the rejection of the government to assent to the Auto Policy.

The Federal Government had in October 2013, announced the concept of National Automotive Industry Development Plan, NAIDP, to stimulate investment in local vehicle production and thereby bolster Nigeria’s economy instead of revenues being exported abroad. But Odiboh who lamented a situation whereby two successive governments reject their own Auto Policy Bill insisted that the federal government should drop the policy completely.

Odiboh who asked the government to drop the policy explained, however, that those that have started auto plants should be encouraged.

He noted that the government cannot force assembly plants into a reality, saying that they do not need to push a policy before it gets traction.

He also stressed that the inability of the government to assent to the bill has proven anti-Auto policy agitators right and also put a question mark on the consistency of our patriotism.

The automotive consultant who is also a lecturer at the Covenant University, Ota in Ogun State said “Even stakeholders are not comfortable with the Auto policy and there has been too much ado in doing nothing.

“Nothing is working. Let the industry move on. Revolution is not by force. It starts with evolution. We must evolve to revolve. Let our auto industry evolve, then it can revolve and through effective Auto policy”.

He urged the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) should restrict itself to design, development of infrastructure and campaigns on patriotic patronage of Made-In-Nigeria vehicles.

Advising the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the don said “Customs should increase tariff on used imported vehicles from 30% to 80%. Reduce tariff on brand new imported vehicles from 70% to 30%. Introduce zero per cent tariff on locally CKD assembled vehicles”.

He said that the implications of the 2019 budget which may not ensure Nigerians buy new cars, is that the operating auto assembly plants will witness an increase in the 58% drop in sales in 2018.

“Another implication of the budget to the assembly plants is that it will add to 23,000 job losses of the past five years”, Odiboh said. He added, however, that the reality observed in 40 sampled auto assembly plants in Nigeria, was that “five years cumulative installed capacity is 450,00 vehicles but we have five years cumulative output of 15,000 vehicles.

“Average cumulative annual capacity is 90,000 vehicles but we have an average cumulative annual output of 375 vehicles. Average annual capacity per assembly plant is 2,330 vehicles but we have average annual output per assembly plant of 10 units”, he said.

Dr Odiboh therefore, concluded that it is really difficult to determine how many assembly plants that Nigeria has, as “many are licensed; few are working; some are fatally wounded and others are dead on arrival”.

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