By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—BY a unanimous voice vote, the House of Representatives at yesterday’s plenary, adopted a motion to stop the importation of vehicles for official use in Nigeria.
To this end, the House urged the Federal Government to develop a policy and provide a timeline to make it compulsory for Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, to restrict procurement of cars to those manufactured or assembled in Nigeria.
The House also asked the committee to investigate why the automobile companies in Nigeria collapsed and proffer solutions.
The motion, titled “Need to Prioritise the Procurement of Cars Manufactured or Assembled in Nigeria by Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs”, was sponsored by Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama (Edo State).
Ihama in the motion, expressed worry that Nigeria had become a dumping ground for automobiles manufactured on foreign soil unlike in the past when car manufacturing companies flooded the country.
He said the development had stripped Nigeria of the benefits of having technology transfer, employment for Nigerians, revenue generation through taxes, reduction in balance of trade deficit, increased GDP, and safety specification which he said accrued from locally made vehicles.
Consequently, he prayed for a deliberate policy of government to correct the anomalies.
He said: “The House notes that the automobile market is a multi-billion Naira venture in Nigeria, given its large population and huge reliance on road transport;
“Aware that government at all levels being the highest spender in Nigeria is a major buyer of automobiles in Nigeria;
“Worried that over 95 per cent of the automobiles procured by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, are neither manufactured nor assembled in Nigeria;
“Recall that a couple of years ago automobile manufacturing companies like Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz and Peugeot had functional assembling plants in Nigeria.”
“Informed that the automobile manufacturing companies outside Nigeria neither pay direct taxes in Nigeria nor are their activities beneficial to the economy of Nigeria;
“Cognizant that the benefits of having automobile manufacturing companies operate manufacturing or assembling plants within Nigeria include; technology transfer, employment for Nigerians, revenue generation through taxes, reduction in balance of trade deficit, increased GDP, safety specification etc;
“Concerned that Nigeria has been relegated to the role of a ready market for automobiles manufactured in more developed economies;
“Convinced that the only way Nigeria can break off the shackles of being a perpetual market for other economies, is by pursuing a deliberate policy on automobiles which will restrict patronage of automobiles by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to automobile brands from companies which have their manufacturing or assembling plants within Nigeria”.
Contributing to the motion, members supported the motion and wondered why the government would waste money on importation of cars offshore, even in the era of change.
In his contribution, Johnson Eguma (Edo State), said Nigeria had nothing to lose should it adopt the measure.
“This is a win win situation. We should encourage and support this motion very, very highly because it will create jobs. It will go a long way to widen the economic opportunity. It will encourage us to see how we can revive our petrochemical industries,” he said.
Also speaking, Henry Archibong (Akwa Ibom), regretted that the country had not looked inwards to promote locally made goods.
“Where is the position of the Aba made goods? Japanese, Taiwanese products have taken over our market. Why is it so? Because that have made policies to support their products. I need a president of this country to begin to use Innoson Cars, Made in Nigeria cars. I want to support this motion with all amount of passion and believing that something will come out of this motion,” he said.
In this same vein, Rwande Shawulu (Taraba State), said that Nigeria could not continue using vehicles made in other countries.
He also called on the House to go beyond the MDAs and adopt the policy of buying locally manufactured cars for its members.
He said: “This is a very good motion. If we grow our industries, it will enable the biggest spender, that is the government not to patronize foreign goods. We should even go beyond this. We cannot afford a situation where the cars, everything we use in this country comes from other countries”.
Similarly, the House also mandated its Committee on Power to investigate the power sector recovery programme which led to its privatization in 2013.
The resolution was reached after considering a motion, titled “Need to Investigate the Power Recovery Programme in Nigeria”, moved my Abubakar Yunusa Ahmed (Gombe State).
Essentially, the motion came with a view to resolving the incongruities in the Draft Power Sector Recovery Programme.
Moving the motion, Ahmed said: “The House notes the distress and inefficiency that has bedeviled the power sector in Nigeria despite the privatization of power sector in September 2013;
“Concerned that in spite of the huge costs committed to implementing power sector projects throughout the federation, the sector has failed to deliver value as power supply has become erratic while many parts of the nation are without electricity supply;
“Cognizant that without government intervention, the cumulative shortfall of about One Trillion Naira will put the sector at risk of insolvency, leading to loss of investors’ confidence;
Conscious that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in conjunction with the World Bank and other institutions has created a Power Sector Recovery Programme [PSRP] with a view to attaining financial viability for the sector and to rehabilitate the Nigeria electricity supply industry;
“Also concerned that although the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) proposes solutions to address financial concerns, the PSRSP does not propose a solution for fixing the critical business, infrastructural and technical flaws resulting in the power sector performance failure and market shortfall being experienced;
Adopting the motion, the House gave the committee four weeks within which to conclude its assignment and report back for further legislative action.