[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Federal government has responded to call by for investigation of Volkswagen’s business in Nigeria, saying the German Auto maker’s cheating on diesel car emissions would not have significant impact on Nigerians.
Alhaji Aminu Jalal, the Director General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), who gave the assurance in Lagos, last week in an interview with Motoring World, reasoned that only one per-cent of cars on Nigeria roads are powered by diesel engines.
According to him, even the existing cars making up the one per cent were imported as used vehicles.
Alhaji Jalal explained: “VW authorised dealers do not sell diesel cars, as diesel costs more than petrol in Nigeria. In essence, it is uneconomical to use diesel car in Nigeria. Or let’s face it, who will buy, when the price of diesel fuel is almost as twice as that of petrol? More so, it does not affect diesel trucks and buses, it’s only cars. Of course, we still have diesel cars imported by those who deal in tokunbo (imported used cars), all of which are not more than 1% of cars on our roads. But importers are no more bringing them in, because price of diesel fuel is almost twice that of petrol.
“European nations want diesel cars, because diesel fuel has lower carbon emission output than petrol. Secondly, there is the global warming they want to help to reduce. That is why governments over there (Europe) encourage diesel cars by lowering tax on diesel fuel, which explains why in 1990, only about 15% of cars in Europe were diesel, but now it is over 50%.”
Reacting to SERAP’s (Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project) recent call on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate Volkswagen business in Nigeria and for possible violation of Nigerian Consumer Protection Act; Alhaji Jalal noted that Nigeria’s vehicle emission standards are not the same as that of Europe and United States.
“At the moment,” he stated in a document mailed to Motoring World last week, “we are at Euro 2 level, while European nations and United States are on level 6. We could not have stricter standards, as our diesel Sulphur standards is at 3,000 ppm (parts per million), which could not support higher standards.”
To improve on emission level standard, the commission, according to Alhaji Jalal, is working with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and other stakeholders towards reducing Sulphur levels to at least 50 ppm.