Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Auto Policy - Vehicle Prices Will Not Go Up, Say Manufacturers

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (NAMA) has given the nation assurances that there will not be a price increase by any of their members involved in the local assembly and manufacture of vehicles in Nigeria.

The association refuted news reports allegedly sponsored by car importers who, it said, are opposed to the new auto policy by the federal government, saying they are the ones behind the reports that car prices will rise.

In a statement reacting to published reports early in the week, the NAMA said that going by the new auto policy, it is cars assembled overseas and brought into Nigeria that will cost more, not those that are assembled locally. The statement signed by the association's executive director, Arthur Madueke, gave a strong assurance to Nigerians that the prices of locally produced vehicles will gradually come down, citing the nation's experience with the aviation and telecommunications sectors as examples.

Madueke said, "We pledge our support to the Nigerian people that there would be no increase in the prices of vehicles as being heralded by harbingers of doom, who wish themselves well at the detriment of the growth of Nigeria for the benefit of all." He added that no member of NAMA was contemplating a price increase and that there will be none.

The NAMA accused opponents of the automotive policy of using scare tactics against a progressive policy designed to make cars cheaper in Nigeria, domesticate production, create jobs and bring about transfer of technology. "It was clear that the country needed to gravitate in a new

direction, away from the import mind-set, if it was going to embark on sustainable industrial development. Only a select group of traders benefitted from a high end auto market with massive resource drainage in form of foreign exchange outflow and littering of the landscape with a scrap heap in the name of fairly used cars."

The NAMA said it is against this background that the federal government launched a reformatory and revolutionary programme to reposition the economy on an industrial platform. "This necessitated a structural change, one that entailed a re-shuffling of resource allocation away from finished goods importation and distribution. It was clear non-value adding businesses in the auto sector had to give way to more productive linkages.

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