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Thursday, October 03, 2013

Federal Government to ban importation of Tokunbos

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday adopted the Automotive Industrial Policy Development Plan.
Its implementation is aimed at stimulating manufacturing of cars and phase out gradually the importation of second-hand cars, popularly known as Tokunbo.
Minister of Information Labaran Maku, who was accompanied by Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Bala Mohammed and Trade and Investments Minister Olusegun Aganga, broke the news to State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Maku said: “The most important discussion, which took most of the council’s time was the presentation to council of a broad policy plan to develop Nigeria automotive industry.

“This plan, which is part of the ministry’s industrial revolution plan that has earlier been approved, is aimed at ensuring increase flow of investments for the development of the automotive in Nigeria.”
The government, he said, has identified and designated automotive clusters in Lagos/Ogun; Kaduna/Kano; and Anambra/Enugu states as the locations for the manufacturing of the new vehicle to enable them to share resources and reduce cost of investments.
The policy, he said, is also expected to revive, expand and develop the petrochemical and metal/steel sectors, and facilitate the return of tyre manufacturing industry to profitability to support the sector.
According to Aganga, whose ministry presented the memo to Council,“a transformed automotive industry will realise its potential as a major driver of economic growth and diversification, job creation, local value addition, and technology acquisition.”
He said: “These recommendation were adopted at various fora, conferences and consultations with stakeholders, including some original equipment manufacturers (OEM).
“Council also approved that the government should direct that all vehicle purchased by  the government should be from the local  assembly plants unless it is specialised and National Automotive Council (NAC) has certified that it is not produced in Nigeria.”
“The Council approved that the approved recommendation should be backed by appropriate legislation to give comfort to investors that there will be no abrupt change in policy,” he added.
Apart from creating over 700,000 jobs over time, Aganga said the government through the policy is ensuring the reduction of importation of what it can produce locally by making it unattractive to import manufactured products.”
He said the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) was working with car-maker, Cena of Brazil, to open automotive training centres while two universities have agreed to start degree programmes in automechanical engineering to provide adequate local manpower for the industry.
While listing pitfalls in similar past policies to include the non-implementation of policies, lack of infrastructure, and inappropriate tariff regime, he said they have been addressed under the new policy framework.
The policy, which was drawn over the last nine months, he said had the input of the National Automotive Council and foreign car manufacturing giants like Toyota and Nissan, which are expected to soon announce their specific investments in the country.
“Banks will be encouraged to operate vehicle purchase schemes to enable Nigerians purchase cars on easy terms and the FRSC will kick off a new vehicle car registration/tracking system in the next two weeks to check the smuggling of used cars into the country.” He said
FEC yesterday also approved the sum of N41.512 billion contracts for rehabilitation and expansion of the outer Southern Expressway and the provision of engineering infrastructure to plot 4075, Asokoro extension (comprising 50 plots) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Maku said that the approvals followed the presentation of two memos by the Ministers of FCT and finally approved after deliberations.
He said: “The Federal Capital Territory again received a lot of attention today at the FEC in the pursuit of FCT policy of improving infrastructure in the city. So, today the minister brought the memo to council seeking the rehabilitation and expansion of the outer Southern expressway from Villa roundabout right down to the outer expressway junction around area one.”
“The purpose for the expansion is to enable the city to benefit from the expansion already at the southern expressway which today is truncated by the narrow passage that links the expanded road junction from the Villa roundabout right down to the outer southern expressway.”
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