• Calls On Government To Introduce Schemes To Enable Civil Servants Acquire New Vehicles
A former national president of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF); Dr. Eugene Nweke, has called on the government to introduce programmes and schemes for civil servants at certain levels to be able to acquire new vehicles.
Nweke, who said this last week in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos, also said that the citizens are yet to see the over 170 vehicle assembly plants promised by the federal government under the automobile policy.
He said that the few vehicles that are assembled in Nigeria are so expensive that civil servants find it difficult to acquire vehicles even after working for years.
The maritime expert also charged the government to also come up with plans that will enable them have a direct control of the prices of vehicles in the market, even as he added that Nigerians are pushed to buy fairly used or damaged vehicles and put them in good shape before using, because the prices of the new ones are high.
He explained that: “Because under the automobile policy, we are yet to see the over 170 listed vehicle assemblers producing vehicles that are for the masses. Most of the vehicles we see are very expensive; they are above the purchasing powers of civil servants. So the government if you are giving assurance of the policy, it should be nation-driven and if you want to control the price, you will say, civil servants of this particular category, this is the type of car that you can buy. And there should be a program, a scheme that will make them to acquire those vehicles will the government takes care of some of the pays that is how to empower the people. But today you go out there everybody buys fairly used vehicles, do some repair works on them and they are good to go”.
He maintained that for the nation to witness rapid development there is need for the government to look at the type of policies that are churned out.
“You see, Nigeria is a developing country and not a developed country and one of the things that will make us look and compete with developed countries that are above the benchmark is the policy we shun out to the masses. Today we have automotive policy of 70% on imported new vehicles and 20% on second hand, now the question is what the purchasing power of Nigerians is, does the government have the control on automobile market? Every Nigerian wants to live a very moderate life we almost provide everything for ourselves and not the government. The government does not provide anything for the citizens because of the population”
He also decried that despite the automobile policy which was meant to ensure that there is an increase in the volume of made in Nigeria vehicles, there is still high importation of vehicles.
According to him, majority of the vehicles coming into the country are damaged vehicles.
“If you look at the assessment now the vehicles that come in are what we call either damaged or accident vehicles, that is the much that comes in. if a vessel comes in at PTML and the total number of vehicles that the vessel came in with is say 2000, be assured that 1200 of those vehicles are damaged. So for the assessment, more vehicles are coming in more than the vehicles assembled in Nigeria, we are expecting that by now, Nigerian made vehicles should be competing with the ones coming in. But vehicles importation is not going down rather it is going up. The only thing the policy has been able to achieve is that it has stopped vehicles that are more than 10 years from coming into the country apart from the commercial vehicles. Before vehicles that are over 20years old still come into the country”, he concluded.