The Association of Motor Dealers Of Nigeria (AMDON) have expressed dismay over plans by the Federal Government to ban the importation of vehicles that are older than seven years, saying the planned policy is already dead on arrival.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), revealed plans by the government to ban the importation, while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise, on Tuesday, during the agency’s budget defence.
But many importers and the National President of AMDON, Mr Ajibola Adedoyin, have condemned the move and urged the government to consider the poor.
According to Adedoyin, “To us, I can tell you authoritatively that such policy cannot work. I can also tell you that the Comptroller-General of Customs knows that such a policy cannot work. I can say this to his face.
“From what the CG of Customs said yesterday, it means they are trying to work on a policy that will ban the importation of vehicles not made before 2014/2015 because we are now in 2021.
How many Nigerians can afford such vehicles? Are we not going back to the reasons the National Automotive Policy did not work?
“When I read the news of the CG of Customs comment, I didn’t believe it.’’
He could say such a thing knowing full well how things work here in Nigeria. How many Nigerians can buy those vehicles made in 2014/2015?
“Ensuring local production of vehicles does not mean you will then stop people from accessing a necessity such as vehicles. If you want to make local production thrive, you will design the kind of vehicle that will be accessible and affordable to the people. Not that you will be assembling expensive vehicles that sell around N7million locally and you will be claiming to want to improve local production of vehicles. How many Nigerians can afford N7million vehicles?
“When India started, they started with very affordable vehicles that their citizens could afford. Go and read about Indian automobile history, they started with vehicles that were within the range of all its citizenry. We should stop deceiving ourselves in this country.
“How many people in Nigeria that is not in government or stealing government funds can afford a car of N4million comfortably? How come it is those kinds of car’s that Nigerians cannot afford that our own government now wants to restrict the importation of vehicles on?
“I am just surprised that this is coming from the Customs CG because we have made several presentations to him, trying to let him understand how these things work.
“Why do you think the government reduced the duty on vehicles and trucks that can carry more than ten persons?
“The government reduced the duty on these types of vehicles because we have a transportation lacuna which of cause has to be sorted out. Now, if the same government is now coming up with a policy that will ban not more than seven years old manufactured vehicles, tell me, who is fooling who?
“We are the ones bringing in the vehicles, and the Customs CG has no control over the rise of Dollar or other statistics attached to vehicle importation. Except maybe, if government wants to delve into vehicle importation and also reduce the Dollar rate for itself.
“If Government wants Nigeria to be producing vehicles, tell me, of what use is the National Automotive Design and Development Council? Is the Council not supposed to sit down and design a vehicle that will be affordable to all Nigerians,” he said.
Another importer, Mr Lekan Adebayo said, many Nigerians, cannot afford very expensive vehicles.
“Even if the duty is reduced and government decides to give out loans to everybody, how many can comfortably use such a loan to buy a vehicle of N5million or even N4million? Therefore, the policy is not a good policy and it would fail. It is high time we stopped fooling ourselves in this country,” he said.