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Stakeholders Caution FG Over Ban On Used Vehicles Importation

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Stakeholders in the Nigerian automotive industry have advised the federal government against placing an outright ban on the importation of used cars, saying there should be a balance between consumers' preferences and the industry's demand.

Recently, it was revealed that the federal government is planning to ban the importation of used vehicles, popularly known as Tokunbo, into the country in a bid to revitalise the country's automotive industry and bolster economic growth.

The National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) is driving this initiative and hopes it will reduce the country's reliance on imported used vehicles and encourage local manufacturing.

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The director-general of NADDC, Joseph Osanipin, said the council's effort to restore some of the vehicle manufacturing companies had led them to begin work on legislation and hopes that it can be turned into an Act that will give legal backing to the ban of imported vehicles.

While some experts argue that the measure could stimulate local production, others contend that the industry's vitality relies heavily on the influx of imported vehicles, including damaged ones, which serve as a crucial source of spare parts.

Reacting to this, automotive expert and former adviser to the government on automotive policy, Luqman Mamudu, said he does not believe the government should outrightly ban the importation of used cars.

To him, there should be a balance between consumer preferences and the industry's demand.

“Whether you like it or not, customers have limited choice now in terms of the vehicle they want to drive because they cannot afford the new ones, either imported or locally made. What some people can afford is a used vehicle.”

He, however, admitted that there are inherent dangers in used vehicles that people do not see or know about.

“Second-hand vehicles are a bit dangerous, not only for the environment but also for safety. Therefore, there should be a way to manage it. The government should engage the source from which the vehicle is coming, engage the countries of origin on how they restrict it quietly, making sure that second-hand vehicles that have no integrity should not be exported from their country, while Nigeria should also ensure vehicles coming into the country should carry a certificate of integrity, which I believe is the best way to balance it,” he said.

On his part, automobile engineer and chairman of the board of directors of driving schools in the country, Engr. Saliyu Aliu believes that the disadvantages of banning used vehicles in the country are huge; however, the earlier the ban, the better for the country because over-reliance on foreign products is so much to the point that it is preventing viable projects from universities in the country from becoming a reality.

He said, “Most of the projects students are working on are not given proper attention because of these foreign products. So if this happens, it will make us, the people, more committed and serious and make us look back on some of our products at the institutions. One thing you should know is that foreign vehicles are made for the country of origin. But if we, too, start making ours, we will make it fit ours as well.”


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