The Nigerian government Wednesday denied reports that it has imposed a flat 70 per cent tariff on all categories of imported new or used vehicles coming into the country as part of its new automotive policy which came into effect on Tuesday.
The government explained that the 70 per cent tariff covers all the vehicle importers who have not keyed into the new automotive programme.
Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, told journalists at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) that the new policy was intended to not only encourage local production of vehicles but also to provide jobs to the teeming young Nigerian professionals as well as boosting transfer of technology.
Media reports had on Tuesday stated that under the new automotive scheme put in place in October, 2013, the government raised the duty and levy payable on imported new and used cars from the current 20 per cent to 70 per cent.
But Dr. Aganga said the reports were factually incorrect, alleging that it was sponsored by some big-time car importers in the country who felt threatened by the new government on inward looking policy on automotive.
“On used cars, in every country when you have a new auto policy like we just put in place, used cars are banned. Even when there was a meeting of the auto manufacturers last week, they pushed for banning used cars,” he said.
“But this government under President Jonathan, bearing in mind the socio-political environment we operate today and that most people import used cars, it has decided not to ban used cars. It will be the first country out of all the countries that have implemented auto programme that has refused to ban used cars at the time of implementation because of the interest of the Nigerian people.”
Besides, he said, the government had put measures in place to make it easier for those who buy used cars to approach financial institutions to have car purchase scheme in the country, where they could borrow money to buy cars as long as you are working at much reduced interest rate, not more than 20 per cent.