The Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), PTML Chapter, Prince Bola Adediran has said that vehicle import into the country through the RORO terminals in Lagos has dropped to 15% percent since January, 2015 compared to what it used to be the previous years.
Speaking in an interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos, Adediran stated that the current figure would still go down to about 8% by the end of March and in the month of April, 2015.
He attributed the decline to apprehension on the part of the importers over the uncertainty of whether or not the Federal Government was going to go ahead with the implementation of the auto policy by April, 2015 as it had earlier announced at the beginning of the year.
While acknowledging the fact that the policy was a good one, he however observed that the federal government was not yet ready with the locally manufactured vehicles before announcing the policy describing it as hurriedly fixed policy.
According to him,” when you say auto policy, that policy is supposed to be good for this country but now, where we are eating from, you want to take it out and bring another brand. Let that new brand be ready, even if it is not 100% percent ready, let it be 50% percent ready, so we know the little pain that we are going to endure that little while and adjust”.
“But you are not even ready to produce Beetle, even bicycle and then you roll out some new jeeps. Where did you get that one from? Is it from Aso Rock or is it from Aba or is it from Ibadan? Which place did you roll out the jeeps that you are telling Nigerians that you produced?”
“As a result of this policy, the volume of vehicle importation in Nigeria has drastically reduced to 15% and before ending of March or April, it will reduce to 8% meaning that it is banned already and let us say since Nigerians have benefited from this tokunbo vehicles and happily, the Nigeria Customs are vey equipped, they are managing whatever comes into this country, if that should be the case, let them do that than to say 70%, 80% or 100%, who will pay that?”
He therefore called on the Federal Government to set aside the policy for the time being adding that it could adjust the mode of bringing tokunbo vehicles even as he said that the 70% or the 35% the government was talking about was so hard on the people of Nigeria.
Reacting, the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service, PTML Command, Mr. Steve Okonmah refuted the claim of auto policy being responsible for the low level of import generally in the country.
Okonmah noted that the low level of importation in the country this year could be attributed to the political situation in the country as well as the menace of Boko Haram insurgency saying that by the time elections were conducted and the activities of the insurgents in the north-east were curtailed, the level of importation in the country would improve.
He said,” so if you talk of the issue of the Dollar, yes, I can understand you, Dollar could affect it but then what do you attribute that one to? Some say devaluation, some say this, some say that but to me, I believe it is just because of the political situation. That is my own personal opinion about it”.
“By the time the election is over, you will see that things will get normalized. You see, you are talking about vehicles, not only vehicles, importation into the country has gone down and so many thing account for this; instability in the country. When I mean instability in the country, the political situation in the country number one, Boko Haram is there too. You are aware that most of our imports go to Chad, Niger, Mali, they transit through Nigeria but can those people still go ahead? They can’t go ahead because you cannot buy things that will be hijacked by the Boko Haram when you are crossing the border. How many escorts are you going to give to them?”
“So, such people will be looking for alternative ways, such goods don’t pass through this place again and as such, it will minus the volume if importation to this nation”, Okonmah added.