A group under the aegis of Shippers’ Association of Lagos State has faulted the National Assembly for the move for the recent move at effective implementation of the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan bill.
In a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos, the group said that the country does not have a working steel manufacturing industry to sustain the bill adding that implementing the bill will only create serious bottlenecks for Nigerians.
Speaking during the chat, the President of the association, Rev. Jonathan Nicol, reiterated that steel is one of the determinants for a vibrant automobile industry.
“I think the government is running too fast than what their system can carry. We don’t have workable steel manufacturing industry, the one at Aladja has closed down and the other one somewhere in the north is not functional. That is one of the determinants for having a full workable automobile industry. You must have a workable steel industry so that you can start your own body work locally. When you talk of manufacturing engines I don’t think we have the technology to manufacture engines yet. So if you are now putting a law, an automobile law what you are doing is to create a very serious bottlenecks for Nigerians because the cost of transportation will go up”, he stated.
Nicole also cautioned the government about a possible ban on the importation of used vehicles into the country.
“Because, I can see government banning the importation of fairly-used cars to replace it with the national automobile policy, which will be unfortunate for this country. Because you cannot even manufacture the wheel of a car not to talk of an engine, it will take the country another 20 to 30 years, it is not something that can be done overnight because it will not work”
Speaking also on the issue of shippers not properly filling the manifest, he said that their duty is to generate the cargo and hand over to freight forwarders.
“It is not the shipper that coined that English, said to contain, it is the shipping lines, and it is the shipping lines field. Our duty is to generate the cargo and give to a freight forwarder to give to shipping lines for travel. We as shippers we don’t always stay while they do the packaging and shipping. It is the freight forwarders that give the goods to shipping lines for shipping. We have the mechanism to know what is in the container; Standard Organization of Nigeria is there, they need to do more work it is not all about checkmating importers. For you to qualify for SONCAP, your goods must have been examined. The goods have been examined before they were allowed to move”, he concluded.