…to commence January 1, 2015
Weeks of intense lobbying over the effective date of implementation of the new automotive policy have paid-off as the Federal Government has granted an extension of the commencement date to January 1, 2015, which was to have commenced on July 1, 2014.
The new date is the aftermath of the lobbying machinery of different stakeholders which included freight forwarding associations, logistics organizations and importers.
The various lobbies were said to have been coordinated by a non-government organization; the Maritime Advocacy and Action Group (MAAG).
By the new development, vehicles imported into the country will continue to pay the 35 percent duty, instead of the additional 35 levy that would have been collected as from July 1, 2014.
Investigations revealed that the government took a final second look at the policy’s implementation date after last week’s automotive summit which held in Lagos.
Attended by different interest groups, the summit was organized 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 meeting, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) representative; Engr B.E Obayi had called the attention of those in attendance to the fact that, none of the assembly plants that have been promising to roll-out the Nigeria-assembled vehicles has approached the agency for standardization 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 gathering that SON has not approved any such vehicles that are currently being assembled in Nigeria. For them to ply Nigerian roads, they must get SON certification, he had insisted.
It was confirmed that the decision to further extend the implementation date by another six months was informed by the fact that none of the assembly plants has actually rolled out vehicles in commercial quantity. In addition, there were issues bordering on standardization , as well as the stiff opposition from stakeholders.
When contacted however, the National Coordinator of the Maritime Advocacy and action Group (MAAG); Alhaji Alhassan Dantata confirmed the development even as he praised President Goodluck Jonathan for “having a listening ear”. According to him, the extension is a confirmation of the fact that Government can listen when confronted with genuine facts about issues.
“MAAG wishes to use this opportunity to thank the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment; Dr. Olusegun Aganga and the Director General of National Automotive Council, Engr. Aminu Jalal for seeing reason with the position of MAAG on this issue”, he stated.
He also explained that, even though MAAG is support of the auto policy, a proper and realistic road map needs to be designed for implementation.
“While not opposed to the new policy, our position has always been that the infrastructures must be visible on a level playing field and that the automobile plants must not take advantage of it to the detriment of the average Nigerian”.
“Already, there are fears that prices of imported used and new vehicles will skyrocket, but we are happy that the extension has been granted”, he stressed.