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New automobile policy: NAC vows to ensure compliance

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In readiness for the new automobile development plan, the National Automotive Council(NAC) said on Tuesday that it will collaborate with the Nigerian Customs Service and Federal Road Safety Corps to ensure effective protection of local automobile industries by checkmating  illegal importation  of used cars into the country.

Board Chairman, Ahmed Saleh, speaking during a familiarization visit to the management of Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) limited in Kaduna, said contrary to fears by some sections of the public that the policy may fail, the council is determined to ensure its full implementation.

On his part, the Director General of the Council, Aminu Jalal said the policy when implemented will open up the local automobile market and boost indigenous car production.

Over the years, the indigenous automobile sector has faced so many challenges that have affected the growth of the sector and one of them, Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited, which used to be the pride of the nation through the various brand of cars it assembled at its plant, has also had its share of setbacks.

The products assembled by local car plants evoked strong national sentiments and attachment that elicited hope for majority of Nigerians. While the company was privatized in April 2006 in line with government's agenda to build stronger, more competitive and diversified economy, no tangible result came out of that transaction as its debt profile soared, a situation that led to its takeover by AMCON.

Shortly after the privatization, public and private demand for passenger cars dwindled as consumer credits dried up while lending rates simultaneously soared. Expectations that government would provide necessary support did not materialize.

The visit to PAN, according to the council, was therefore one of the numerous familiarization tours to all the local car manufacturing companies across the country, with the view of assessing the challenges facing the sector and how they can benefit from the new policy.

Speaking earlier, PAN managing Director, Ibrahim Boyi appealed to the visiting NAC board members  not to  relent in the full implementation of the new automotive  development  plan to protect  current and future investments by local manufacturing plants.

He also wants the council to actively support the citing of one of the proposed auto supplier parks and clusters within the premises of the company to optimize existing resources and fast track implementation of local development.

Although the council has assured that the new automotive development plan will not fail like the previous one introduced in the 1970s, industry players are hoping that government would ensure that all hurdles and obstacles that will hamper the smooth implementation of the policy, are cleared to give room for the development of the local automotive sector.

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