The Federal Government has decried the US$8 billion (about N2.4tn) spent annually on importation of about 400,000 vehicles into the country.
Minister of Trade and Investment, Richard Adeniyi Adebayo disclosed in Abuja.
Speaking at an automotive event held in Abuja, the Minister of Trade said the huge Foreign Exchange (Forex) leakage affected the economy negatively.
The trade minister made a case for increased local content usage in domestic production of vehicles to crash the price of locally made vehicles.
Adebayo, who was represented at the event, said more Nigerians would be able to purchase locally manufactured vehicles if the high price could be crashed by using locally sourced raw materials.
He said Nigeria was importing vehicles from many countries across the world and exporting none, thereby creating trade deficit in Nigeria’s automotive industry.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, AbubakarMalami, lamented the huge funds being committed to importation of vehicles annually.
According to him, the huge foreign exchange being spent on importation would have been saved had Nigerians concentrated on local manufacturing of vehicles.
Malami further said there was need to stop the leakage of the $9bn annually via vehicle imports by providing legal support for the country’s domestic auto industry.
The minister assured that the Federal Government would give legal backing to the National Automotive Policy.
The Bill on the National Automobile Policy was passed by the Eighth National Assembly but it was denied assent by President MuhammaduBuhari due to certain unclear clauses.
Malami offered to revive the bill, which he said addressed concerns of policy inconsistency in the country’s automotive sector.
“We spend about $8bn on vehicle importation annually. If we concentrate on designing and manufacturing these vehicles locally, we would save a lot of that foreign exchange.
“The Federal Government would support your efforts in ensuring that we design and manufacture cars for public transportation and agricultural equipment,” he said.
Similarly, the Chairman of NADDC Board, Sen. OsitaIzunaso, said that there was the need to review the national automotive policy with a view to addressing issues inhibiting the growth of the automotive industry.
Izunaso further expressed concern that inconsistency in automotive policies was driving away investors “because they lack confidence in the system’’.
“We want a situation that a new car manufactured in Nigeria could be sold at most four million naira.
“By 2020, we are working on Made-in-Nigeria, which you can pay for over 15 years at a single digit interest,’’ Izunaso said.