Transport

Minister: Reviewed auto policy will be out very soon

Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, Monday inaugurated a technical committee to carry out a review of the newly passed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 and its implications on the statutory responsibilities of the ministry.

The federal government has assured stakeholders in the nation’s auto industry that a reviewed auto policy would be released before the end of the year.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, stated this during a ‘meet the stakeholders’ parley’ anchored by BKG Exhibitions Limited, at the minister’s office in Abuja, recently.

Otunba Adebayo said the government was working hard to put in place a workable auto policy before the end of 2021.

Responding to issues on the myriad of challenges confronting the industry in Nigeria, as raised by the BKG team, the Minister said: “I can assure you that we are not unaware of these problems and we have been doing our best to see how we can tackle these problems. I am sure you must be aware that at the moment we are working on the auto policy and we are hopeful that before the end of this year we have an auto policy in place which will be presented to Federal Executive Council for approval.”

He further disclosed that the policy was part of discussions the federal government had with Original Equipment Manufacturers recently, assuring that the document would be out before the year ran out. The minister revealed that already the AfriExim Bank had accepted to fund the consultancy for the preparation of the policy.

The minister assured the BKG Exhibitions’ team, led by the Managing Director, Mr Ifeanyichukwu Agwu and other automotive industry key players of the ministry’s support.

He said, “The auto sector is a sector that our ministry is very interested in because we know that it portends a lot for the future of this country in terms of employment for our teeming youths we will support its growth and development.” He strongly assured that the government is working hard to adequately address to challenges of the industry.

Earlier, the Managing Director of BKG Exhibitions Limited, organiser of the Abuja International Motor Fair, said the auto show started in 1988, along with the Lagos Motor Fair and Autoparts Africa Expo.

He commended the Minister for granting them an audience and giving a listening ear to the stakeholders in the industry.

According to him, the auto sector in Nigeria is very key to her development, stressing that it had the potentials of huge employment generation and revenue earning through duties and other direct and indirect taxes.

Agwu counselled that the rising inflation in the country could be addressed if the government gets it right by ensuring that the automotive sector is soon revived as goods and services are often transported through the sector, pointing out that Nigeria’s auto sector was huge as it holds the highest number of auto brand representatives in the whole of Africa.

Warning that countries like Ghana are positioning to overtake Nigeria as the hub of the automotive market in the continent owing to Nigeria’s policy inconsistencies and lack of a well-thought-out law-backed policy of growing the industry; adding; “I don’t think that there is any country in Africa that has the number of auto brands representatives that Nigeria has, not South Africa, not even Egypt. But still, these people are selling to us.

“Some of the brands go to South Africa to buy and sell to us but that is what Nigeria should be doing because first we have the internal market, and then we have the capacity to support the sector to sell to other African markets. But we are not doing that and it is going bad, really bad,” he said.

He further warned that if the government does not make haste to tinker with the policies to help grow the industry in Nigeria, automakers may go to Ghana and set up a plant to sell to Nigerians. Agwu also warned that China is planning to start shipping used cars otherwise known as Tokunbo into Nigeria, adding that if that happened, it may not augur well for the country.

Meanwhile, the Abuja International Motor which will be having its 21sts edition has gotten a date, according to the organizers, BKG Exhibitions Limited, it will hold from November 15-20, 20121 at the International Conference Centre Annex, Abuja.

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