By DAPO OLAWUNI
President of Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON) Mr Ajibola Adedoyin has given reasons why the Federal Government and the Nigeria Customs Service cannot stop the importation of used vehicles (Tokunbo) into Nigeria.
Speaking with maritime journalists in Lagos recently, Mr Adedoyin states that the National Automotive Policy of the Federal Government failed because the government failed to realise that the purchasing power of the masses is very low.
He said that vehicles being manufactured and produced in Nigeria are not accessible and durable.
The AMDON President also noted that 99-percent of vehicles coming in through Nigerian Ports are used vehicles, while some are accidented vehicles, he said that only one percent of them is new vehicles.
Speaking, he said “We import accidented cars because we are trying to bring down the price of cars in this country as a result of the low purchasing power of the people.
“The price of clearing an accidented car is quite different from a non-accidented car. The truth is that when such a car is fixed, even abroad, you would not know, and they continue to use it, when it is imported, you would not equally know.
“There is a wide gap in our transportation system, that is why you see that during work hours when people are going to work, you see lots of people at the bus stops and when they are closing. This speaks volumes of the gap in the transportation sector which we know that the government does not have the capacity to come in.
“We have had such discussions with the Comptroller General of Customs, and as we stand today, Federal government cannot stop importation of tokunbo cars except if they want to crumble the economy.
“If you check the figures of vehicles bought and registered, 99-percent of them are Tokunbo cars, only 1-percent is brand new, if you now decide to shutdown the 99percent, where do we start from” he queried
Adedoyin also noted that owning vehicles in Nigeria today is now neccesity and not luxury, because, without it, you can not move.
Speaking further, he said “Nigeria does not have the capability to produce an affordable and assessable vehicle.
“Apart from the fact that they cannot provide the required number needed, they are not affordable and accessable, and as long as these two elements are not there, you have done practically nothing.
“For example, we have cars of six months on our stand, in a month, you can only sell one.
“We have a forum that we discussed with the Director General of Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) and their target is to discourage bringing in of tokunbo cars, but the Nigeria Customs Service has got no right to discourage anything, they are only to collect money on acceptable goods coming into the port.
“AMDON has been the one fighting implementation of the National Automotive Policy in the past twelve years, we said that the policy itself is good, but the implementation strategy is wrong.
“It is like you having a child of 2-years old, and you saw a man of 23-years running a relay, and you want your child to compete with that man, you will kill the child. Unfortunately, this is what the government is trying to do.
“The purchasing power of Nigerians is very low, so no matter the amount of cars being produced in Nigeria, as long as the people cannot buy it, it becomes a waste of time” he concluded.