AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna
Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Limited has faulted Federal Government’s plan to reduce import duties and taxes for tractors, buses, and passenger vehicles, noting that it would serve as a disincentive to Nigerian automobile plants and increase unemployment.
Chairman of PAN Nigeria, Hon. Ahmed Aliyu Wadada, who stated this in Kaduna on Thursday, urged the Federal Government to quickly reverse the plan, which aimed at boosting the economy in the wake of Covid-19 and other economic challenges, noting that such a policy would create unemployment problems.
He warned that such policy would further harm the ailing automobile industry and the companies involved in accessories, as well as debilitate the local contents and the steel and petrochemical industries, which are to serve the local automobile plants, that President Muhammadu Buhari is doing everything to revive.
He added, “We got very disturbing information by the media aide to the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that Federal Government is slashing down import duties and other taxes on tractors, buses, and passenger vehicles. This is of concern to us on behalf of other automobile plants, as the leading automobile plant in Nigeria.
“Federal Government should take a look at the policy and reverse it for the betterment of Nigerians. Such policy somersault is injurious to the survival and development of the automobile industry, instead of creating employment opportunities, it would create employment problems due to lower activities by automobile plants.
“What informed the position of the government is to cushion the socio-economic problems of Nigeria but it should not be addressed on ad-hoc basis measure. Tackling the socio-economic problem of Nigeria should be better done in a more sustainable and permanent way. If you create employment opportunities for the citizenry it is a more effective and better way of dealing with it.
“Nesbitt Investment Nigeria Limited recently acquired PAN with a plan to inject $150 million within three years. But with such a policy in place how will PAN survive? And what will be the encouragement for Nesbitt Investment to inject such money when the corridor of importation is wide open and the automobile companies will not be able to compete.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to reverse the policy. The government should resuscitate the steel and petrochemical industries which it has been struggling to do. We are doing our best to migrate from assembling plant to a manufacturing company, which is all-encompassing. But if you open the corridor of importation that would serve as a disincentive to the automobile industry.
“No automobile plant does CKD (Complete Knockdown) because of the policy on the ground, but our plan is to migrate from SKD (Semi Knockdown) to CKD. What encouraged Nesbitt Investment to acquire PAN from AMCON (Asset Management Company of Nigeria) is the business environment, the policy of President Buhari administration which before now was encouraging.”