Nigerians spent USD31.67billion (about N6.3trillion) on importation of vehicles and other motorized equipment into the country from 2009 to 2013.
This information was contained in a data issued by the National Automotive Council (NAC) and presented by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The amount was spent on importation of vehicles, tractors, trailers and semi-trailers, civil engineering and contractors’ plant and equipment. A breakdown of the figure shows that the country spent USD5.407billion in 2008; USD4.012billion in 2009; USD5.592billion in 2010; USD4.082billion in 2011; USD6.364billion in 2012 and USD6.212billion in 2013 on the importation of these items.
A further breakdown shows that a total of about 100,000 new and 300,000 used vehicles were imported into the country in 2012, excluding tractors, trailers and semi-trailers, civil engineering and contractor’s plant and equipment.
Perhaps worried by these huge spending, the Federal Government under former President Goodluck Jonathan introduced the National Automotive Policy to encourage local production of vehicles. It also imposed 35% duty and 35% levy on imported new and used vehicles to discourage importation.
The policy has, however, failed due to a huge gap in market demand and local production, thus promoting smuggling of vehicles into the country.
Several stakeholders have called for the reversal of the policy.
By Pita Ochai