[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Nigerian Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA) has described the procurement of wholly imported SUVs instead of comparable locally assembled brands by the nation’s Upper Legislative Chamber as despicable and catastrophic to about 4000 jobs and roughly 50 ancillary industries currently engaged by the home-grown Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
NAMA made these reservations at a media conference held in Lagos, where it berated the Senate for impeding the growth of the local automotive industry.
“The Senate could have saved suffering Nigerians 40% of the eventual outlay and sustained at least 50 medium scale enterprises, had it procured vehicles assembled by talented and diligent Nigerian workforce,” Mr. Tokunbo Aromolaran, Chairman of the Association reasoned.
He said: “It was a rude shock to learn of the decision of the Senate to procure imported fully built SUVs, when much more affordable locally assembled alternatives were offered.”
The local media had lately been saturated with reports of procurement by the Senate of indefinite units of Toyota Land Cruiser VXR V8 SUVs valued at a whooping N3.9billion contrary to the consent of the Executive arm of government.
Also agonizing that the “Senate has by this self-centered decision held down the automotive industry by at least four years,” Mr. Aromolaran wondered if the Senate was aware of an official circular from the office of the Secretary to the Government mandating all government agencies to mandatorily procure made-in-Nigeria vehicles except if a locally made equivalent isn’t available.
He therefore enjoined the Bureau of Public Procurement to beam searchlight on the Senate to restrain her extremes so it doesn’t wander out of control.
The NAMA Chairman emphasized the significance of the automotive industry to the Federal Government’s quest for a viable economic resource alternative to the plummeting oil value, remarking that the automotive industry has ample potential for growth.
He however commended the Lower House of Representatives for embracing the OEMs products and driving locally assembled Peugeot vehicles and “putting aside personal aggrandizement at a tough time like this.
“They have by this action identified with the suffering of their brothers and families and essentially added value to our steel products, rubber extracts, glass sheets and plastics from our petrochemical plants,” the NAMA Chairman remarked.
According to him, vehicle assemblies need consistent patronage to increase capacity and expand their facilities to produce more units at affordable prices and gradually move towards global competitiveness and self-sustainability.
Also speaking at the event, Managing Director, ANAMMCO Limited, Mr. Maduabuchukwu Okeke said: “We cannot overemphasize the need for government support, adding that, “the quality of our products compare to similar products manufactured in various plants worldwide.”
Mr. Aderungboye Adewole of PAN Nigeria Limited said “We have invested a substantial part of our resources and we wish the Senate reverses her decision and consider locally assembled vehicles.”
Similarly, Prakash Karat, Plant Head, Stallion NMN, manufacturers of Nissan highlighted the need for a dependable policy that could drive vehicle manufacturing and enhance sales, adding that local plants shouldn’t be struggling to sell their inventory when a larger percentage of the country’s population are youths.
Other NAMA members in attendance are Dr. David Obi, Chairman, Motor Vehicles & Miscellaneous Assembly Sectorial Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and Mr. Babatunde Kolade, Consultant to ANAMMCO Ltd.