By GODWIN ORITSE
THE Federal Government has granted an extension for the commencement of the effective date of implementation of the new auto policy to January 1, 2015 as against July 1, 2014, following weeks of protests and lobbying by interested stakeholders in the maritime industry.
The extension was granted after lobbying machinery of different stakeholders, which included freight forwarding associations, logistics organisations and importers, who protested both the increase in tariff and the date of commencement.
The various lobbies were said to have been coordinated by a non-government organisation; the Maritime Advocacy and Action Group (MAAG).
Although, the extension did not affect the duty rate of 35 percent on used vehicles, but the additional 35 percent levy will not be implemented until January 2015.
It was gathered that government took a second look at the policy’s implementation date after last week’s automotive summit held in Lagos.
The summit, which was attended by different interest groups, was organised by the National Automotive Council (NAC) to put all stakeholders’ fears about the new auto policy on the table and assess the successes recorded so far.
At the summit, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) representative; Engr B.E Obayi called the attention of those in attendance to the fact that none of the assembly plants that have promised to roll out the Nigeria-assembled vehicles has approached the agency for standardisation of their products.
The SON’s representative, who also heads its Inspectorate and Compliance department, insisted that any vehicle that comes out of the assembly plants must meet Nigerian standards.
He told the participants that SON has not approved any such vehicles that are currently being assembled in Nigeria.