President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been urged to expunge Section 38 of the Finance Act 2020, which reduces the tariff on imported vehicles from 35 to five per cent and revert to status quo.
The Automotive and Locomotive Engineers’ Institute (AutoEI), a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), made the call at its monthly meeting hosted by its Kaduna Chapter on Wednesday, warning that such policy would cause massive job loss in the nation’s automotive industry.
In a communiqués issued after the meeting and signed by its national chairman, Dr. Abubakar Jumare and Kaduna Branch chairman, Engr. Mobolaji Olajide, the group frowned at what it viewed as erroneous presentation of the previous tariff situations in section 38 of the official gazette no. 4 vol. 108 on the Finance Act 2020.
On the contrary, the engineers advised the Federal Government to urgently present the National Automotive industry Development Plan (NAIDP), as an executive bill to the National Assembly for a speedy passage into law, a move it assured will set the nation on the right footing for rapid industrial revolution and consequential socio-economic transformation.
The communiqué reads: “The inaccurate presentation of the previous tariff situations in section 38 of the official gazette no. 4 vol. 108 on the Finance Act 2020 is laden with ambiguities indicative of its hurried inclusion in the document and obvious absence of consultation with stakeholders, who have made huge investments in the industry on the basis of the fiscal policy measures for the automotive industry expressed in the Federal Ministry of Finance’s letter ref. no. BD/FP/DO/09/I/189, dated 14th November 2013.
“It is expected that the Federal Government’s commitment to ease of doing business, promotes industrial investment poised to improve national technological acumen and socio-economic livelihoods of the people through the very vast automotive value chain rather than satisfying selfish aspiration of briefcase traders at this crucial time characterized by increasing competition resulting from addition of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement [AfCFTA] to existent ECOWAS trade protocol.”
The Automotive and Locomotive Engineers, therefore, urged the Government to rescind its decision and expunge section 38 of the Finance Act 2020 in its entirety reverting to status quo ante, warning that going ahead with its implementation “portends job loss to her members and the potpourri of stakeholders in the value chain to uphold the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan [NAIDP], which is a well thought out policy borne out of extensive consultation with stakeholders, which has attracted more OEM investments to the country with consequential socio-economic benefits including direct and indirect job creation.”
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