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Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 Election Loss Stalled Auto Industry Growth –Cosmas Maduka

ROTIMI ASHER

nigeria would have recorded a progress in the automobile industry development had the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan won the 2015 General Election that brought President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) to Power.

The Chairman of Coscharis group, Dr. Cosmas Maduka, gave the indication in an interview published recently in the Daily SUN newspaper .

Answering questions bothering on the effect of policy somersault on the nation’s industrial development, Maduka commended PMB’s administration for banning rice importation, a decision he said had boost rice production in Nigeria.

He, however, expressed fear that all the achievement might be lost if a future administration reverses the policy, just as President Buhari’s regime did to the auto policy initiated by its predecessor.

He testified that, based on his experience in rice industry, President buhari’s regime has a clear sense of direction in agriculture, adding that if the regime had applied similar policy for other sectors, including auto industry, Nigeria will be better for it.

“On policy somersault,” he said, “everybody is nervous. Even till today, we are nervous, because we are conscious of what will happen to our huge investments, if tomorrow they tell you they have opened the borders and rice can start flooding in. We have seen this happen several times.

“If President Goodluck Jonathan had remained in office, what is happening now in the auto industry wouldn’t be happening, because his government had a clear goal.

“The government made it clear that they would not buy any vehicle that was not produced in Nigeria, and they actually matched their words with action by patronizing vehicles made in Nigeria, in order to help the industry.

“But, it is not same with this administration, because they didn’t continue with that philosophy, and the industry is dying.

“That is why I have always been emphasizing on consistency: A new government coming in and looking at an existing policy and running with it, which is where the First World countries are better than us. You can’t see a newly elected US president saying ‘no, this is my predecessor’s policy.’”

It would be recalled that, contrary to the content of the Nigeria Auto Industry development Plan (NAIDP), which President Buhari declined signing; it recently signed a finance bill, which approved reduction of tariff on imported cars from 35% to 5%.

As voiced by auto industry watches and analysts, the policy will make it nonviable to operate local auto assembly/manufacturing; as volume produced and sold are too low to compete with imported brands manufactured by already well established auto makers in other parts of the world.

According to Maduka, had PMB’s administration protected other industrial sectors as it did to the rice industry, Nigeria would have experienced acceleration of industrial development.

“Let me say it again,” Maduka stressed, “if what is happening in the rice industry in Nigeria is taken to other sectors, give us five years, and you will see that the acceleration of development in this country will be great, and will create a middle class.

“As an entrepreneur, I have implicit confidence in the potentials of the huge population of this country, which I consider a big asset. All you need is the right man to harness them.”

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