By Theodore Opara
WORRIED by the slow development in the Nigeria’s auto sector, Managing Director of BKG Exhibitions, Mr. Ifeanyi Agwu has charged the Federal Government to pay more attention to reviving the nation’s auto sector, saying it is the remedy to the development of the country’s economy.
Mr. Agwu who spoke to the Motoring press in his office stated that there is no way the Federal Government can revive the economy without reviving the auto sector.
Said he: “the automotive sector is very key to the development of the nation’s economy and cannot be allowed to suffer as it is presently.
“We need to get the mechany right and policies too. If the policy is not right, we will be moving in a circle and not forward”he said.
Agwu regreted that despite our huge resources and population in the continent, we are yet to develop at the right pace.
“Nigeria is a major market, yet there are more vehicles imported into Niger and Benin Republic which later end up in Nigeria, through illegal means.
The Nigerian government is the loser because it is creating business opportunities and revenues for neighbouring countries and the ‘underworld market’ to its detriment.’’
The virtually angry BKB boss lamented that the country is fast losing employments that would have come from the auto sector and urged the government to seriously look into the sector.
“The whole world knows that Nigerians love cars. If we leave the tax and duties at 70 percent as it is presently, the cars will continue to come through illegal means and the country will continue to lose huge revenue annually.”
To this end, he urged the Federal Government to slash the tariff on automobiles to be at par with what Benin and Niger Republic are charging.
He said this has become the only way forward since we cannot build walls at the border to adequately check the influx of vehicles from neighbouring countries.
Agwu called for the reverse of the nation’s auto’s policy to enable the country achieve the goals of developing the sector.
According to him “my idea is the reverse. Lets the already built auto plants start with spare parts production adding as it presently, it will be very expensive to produce cars in Nigeria for now because every single part is sourced from outside.
As it is, Agwu noted that the grey market controls the nations auto sector which shouldn’t be the case but pointed out that if the Federal Government gives the right attention to the auto sector Nigerian will see the difference in four years.
He also made case for the setting up technical schools to address the manpower problem and issue of quacking in the auto sector.
‘’If we tow the line, the country will develop in four years but we must address the issue of manpower by ensuring the setting up of technical schools like in Ghana, Benin Republic and even Germany,” he stated.
On the forthcoming motor show organised by his company, Agwu said: “We need to do something. Last year was very bad. We want to do it better than we have done before. We want to raise the standard in terms of outlook. We are working seriously to make it a better event, especially the motor fair. The auto part is getting good participation. We have participation from across the globe. China, India, Turkey etc. We are working seriously to give it the best attention it deserves. The response is good. Coscharis, GAC, PAN, Toyota. It is already looking good. We want to step up the tempo.
It is a very important event for Nigeria. It wish to showcase us us to the world. I don’t know why the CEOs can’t come to see what is happening. Most companies spend much on vehicles yet they don’t show up at the event. Apart from raw materials, state government’s spend much on automobiles too.