Nigeria drops plans to ban Tokunbo vehicles
BY ALEX AKAO
The Federal Government has reversed its plans to ban the importation of fairly used vehicles also known as Tokunbo,
in line with popular opposition to the policy since it was announced
late last year.The shift in position was taken at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting penultimate week, following intense debate on the issue with the conclusion that the planned ban was not in the best interest of the nation's economy for now.
The Minister of Industry,Trade and Investment,
Dr. Olusegun Aganga, disclosed this in Kaduna on Friday, during a
facility tour of one of the nation's automobile assembly plants, Peugeot
Automobile of Nigeria, Kaduna.
to him, government has since realised that despite the laudable
intention of the policy, the prevailing socio-economic circumstances in
the country for now would not be supportive of it.
in the import sector who roundly condemned the plans have been locked
in a fierce debate over its desirability or otherwise with the
automobile manufacturing industry who saw the policy as long overdue.
But Aganga said despite the new automotive
policy in place,the government would not ban the importation of fairly
used vehicles because of its socio-economic importance to the country.
banning, the minister noted that Nigeria must work towards providing
alternative cars. Hesaid the idea to ban the imports was aimed at
revamping the auto industry adding that a lot more needed to be put in
place before adopting such policy because of its apparent backlash.
The minister, who said he was at PAN to assess how the automobile company was taking the opportunity of the new automotive policy of the government, saidthough Tokunbo
vehicles would still be imported into the country, government would do
everything possible to ensure that affordable and new vehicles are
produced for Nigerians.
studied what was done in Pakistan, India and South Africa. It is normal
that in most countries they ban the importation of Tokunbo cars because that will help the demand of the local manufacturers.
"However, for Nigeria, we discussed and we said we are not going to ban Tokunbo vehicles
because of the socio-economic problems we have in the country. We must
work towards providing alternative cars before we even consider placing a
ban on them.
Nigeria we have not banned it yet. If we slow down the demand, it will
slow down the pace of growth. If you look at the cars today, for every
new car that is imported, almost six Tokunbo vehicles are imported into the country. That tells you that the economy of the country is a priority.
"When you see that, as a country, you cannot afford to place a ban. The Federal Executive Council has said we are not banning Tokunbo vehicles until we have alternative for them. So, Tokunbo
cars will still be imported into the country and we will do everything
possible to make sure we can produce affordable and new cars for
Nigerians. It is important that we provide an environment and the
alternative for Nigerians before we embark on banning Tokunbo cars."