A maritime Lawyer, Barrister Emeka Akabogu has argued that there is an urgent need for the nation’s automobile policy to be reviewed, even as he added that if the policy is properly reviewed it will make the local manufacturers to be more competitive.
Akabogu, who gave this explanation in an interview with Shipping Position Daily last week in Lagos, also called for duties and charges payable on imported vehicles to be reviewed downwards.
He said that because of the high charges on vehicles coming into the country, a lot of jobs and revenues have been lost to ports of neighbouring countries.
“I think what the government needs to do is to review the policies that made people in the first place to start importing vehicles through the land borders, that is what needs to be done. So I think the auto policy really needs to be reviewed. The local manufacturers need to be competitive and I believe they could be competitive even if imported vehicles are allowed”, he argued.
He reiterated that reviewing charges on vehicles will also make the nation’s port more active.
“However what is more important is for the practices of the Nigeria customs, in fact the port charges, customs rates in terms of the duties need to be looked at because, if they are looked at the Nigerian ports will be a lot more active”, he added.
Akabogu also said that the review will generate more revenue for the government.
“Potentially, there will be increased revenue from the ports; there will be increased employment for Nigerians because a lot of jobs and revenue have been shifted to neighbouring countries due to these policies”
“I don’t think it will reduce the revenue that is accruable to customs if the policy is reviewed, because right now, a lot of customs revenue under the so-called auto policy is being lost. Because it is almost punitive, it is so punitive that it is almost an expected circumstance that people will smuggle cars”, he argued.