The Federal Government has said Nigerians are spending over $8bn (N2.4tn) annually to import vehicles. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made the disclosure on Monday in Abuja while unveiling a competition on ‘automotive design initiative’ organised by the National Automotive Design and Development Council.
According to him, the huge foreign exchange being spent on importation would have been saved had Nigerians concentrated on local manufacturing of vehicles. The minister assured that the Federal Government would give legal backing to the National Automotive Policy. The Bill on the National Automobile Policy was passed by the Eighth National Assembly but it was denied assent by President Muhammadu Buhari due to certain unclear clauses.
Malami offered to revive the bill, which he said addressed concerns of policy inconsistency in the country’s automotive sector. “We spend about $8bn on vehicle importation annually. If we concentrate on designing and manufacturing these vehicles locally, we would save a lot of that foreign exchange.
“The Federal Government would support your efforts in ensuring that we design and manufacture cars for public transportation and agricultural equipment,” he said. Speaking at the event, Ondo State Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, commended the initiative. According to him, the competition will offer opportunities for younger people to grow careers in the automotive sector.
“We need this type of innovation to drive the economy. This is a great vision of the government and just like the border closure, this competition would challenge us to think out local solutions to our numerous problems,” he said. The 2019 edition of the challenge focuses on the design of applicable mini-taxis and cost-effective mini-tractors in Nigeria.