By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, has expressed grave concern over the recent calls on President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to jettison the National Automotive Policy.
It also called on the President to ignore the clamour to lower the import tariff on automobile products, saying it would negatively affect the policy.
Director-General of NECA, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, who spoke in Lagos, argued that government should sustain and deepen the policy through faithful implementation, without waiver or threat of possible reversal, except for the recognition of certain categories of non-luxury heavy duty vehicles that could not and would not be assembled in Nigeria.
The National Automotive Industry Development Plan, NAIDP, was hailed as a welcome development when initiated as it was billed to stimulate growth in the automotive industry and overall evolution of the economy.
But in recent times, individuals and groups suspected to be working for automobile products importers have been claomuring for the government to jettison the policy.
However, Oshinowo said: “One developmental challenge of Nigeria and major hindrance to sustainable national growth had been successive government’s policies inconsistency and programmes somersault.
“The time has come for succeeding government to put the economic interest of the country ahead of political considerations.
“Government should imbibe the culture of adopting well-meaning policies of past governments. The Automotive Policy is one of such that need to be sustained.”
He urged the Buhari administration not to be sucked in by calls for the reversal of the policy as this would be detrimental to the economy.
He said: “Government should sustain and deepen the policy through a faithful implementation, without waiver or threat of possible reversal, except for the recognition of certain categories of non-luxury heavy duty vehicles that cannot and will not be assembled in Nigeria.”
“President Buhari will do well by ignoring the clamour to lower import tariff on Automobile products, as this will negatively impact on the policy.
“It will end up promoting importation, which is not in tandem with the contents and spirit of the automotive policy, to promote assembling in the country,’’ Oshinowo said.
He added that there was need for NAIDP to be backed up by an Act of the National Assembly to ensure commitment and prevent reversal, thereby promoting backward integration and diversification.
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