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HomeOpinionKick Starter with Femi OwoeyeIs Auto Industry Safe in President Buhari’s Hands?
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Is Auto Industry Safe in President Buhari’s Hands?

By: FEMI OWOEYE

It is understandable that, with the continuous crash of the oil prices in the world market, government has been incapacitated financially. Notwithstanding, in a situation like this, economic theory of Opportunity cost and alternative forgone becomes handy.

This is a period when relevant government policies, actions and inactions should naturally favour local industries above foreign ones. Reason: Unlike the likes of MTN, Airtel, etc, that would rather fly their earnings straight to their home countries, indigenous industries do not only create jobs here, they also keep their earnings in Nigeria. Such local industries include the nation’s growing auto assembly plants and many others that are warming up to set up their plants in the country.

Secondly, auto plants operating in Nigeria today need foreign currency to remain in operation, because, for now, they still have to import most of the kits they need to make their vehicles, pending the time local content supplies are ready.

It is a delicate period for the nation’s assembly plants, most of which are still at their suckling stage like a baby, in which case, at the moment, FOREX, for them, is like breast-milk or umbilical cord. A publication reported last week that Inoson allegedly cut its work force by 50%. That is no good news. It’s like beginning of fire, source of which needs to be turned off now quickly, before it gets uncontrollable.

The weight must have been heavy on President Buhari, who is running a nation under the worst economic situation ever. Officials of National Automotive Design and Development Council(NADDC), headed by Engineer Aminu Jalal, must have been kept under a lot of pressure, because they can’t afford to see their efforts over the years go up in political flame. They stand between the federal government and stakeholders. They can not put too much pressure so that they won’t be seen to be involved in PDP-APC politics.

But neither the presidency nor NADDC is the problem. What is going on is like a football match. Buhari is a mere captain. He can’t be a striker, midfielder and goal keeper at the same time. Every member of the team is expected to take a decision at appropriate time. Any indecision or wrong decision of a team member can lead to disaster. Same goes for the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Unless he stops waiting for presidential instruction and give priority FOREX allocation to the local industries, that need it most, by the time disaster strikes our industries, he’ll loose his job, for the presidency would have to sack him. And if he continues like this, making unpardonable errors in this crisis period, the president should replace him before it is too late.

Following our last week’s story on the matter, an NADDC Director responded at an event in Lagos, saying the council is “talking to the federal government to give auto companies priority allocation”, which gladdened my heart. Maybe the Minister of Industries, and the latter too would have to try speaking to the CBN governor to take the right decision.

No. No. No. The nation does not have all that time in this world for such careless bureaucratic business. Every member of President Buhari’s team needs to analyse and take the right decisions at the right time. This is like a war time.

I also gathered that the same CBN has delayed approving a licence that has delayed take-off of an Auto Loan Company. This is not good enough. After all, this is what would enable average Nigerians to be able to buy locally assembled vehicles so that production volumes could be boosted. And without it, the federal government would not

FEMI OWOEYE: Editor-in-chief, Motoring World International
FEMI OWOEYE Editor-in-chief, Motoring World International

touch tariff on imported used vehicles. CBN’s inaction on that singular matter has delayed further implementation of the auto policy.

Even when all these are done and FOREX allocation priority is given to the industries, including the auto assembly plants, national Assembly members and the presidency still need to go further adopting locally assembled vehicles as their official cars. These are the best ways to ensure that the nation’s auto industry remains safe under the present regime.

[tabs type=”horizontal”][tabs_head][tab_title][/tab_title][/tabs_head][tab]”It is a delicate period for the nation’s assembly plants, most of which are still at their suckling stage like a baby, in which case, at the moment, FOREX, for them, is like breast-milk or umbilical cord.” – Femi Owoeye[/tab][/tabs]

 

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