The country currently spends 550 billion naira annually on the importation of cars. The policy is expected to make imported cars more expensive thus promoting that vehicles be made in Nigeria. The policy is also expected to create a minimum of 70,000 jobs once the implementation begins.
“It is a good thing but I don’t think it can happen like that because even in Japan where several millions of vehicles are being manufactured, there’s only about 700,000 jobs in automobile assembly,” Chief Micheal Ade ojo, Chairman of Toyota Nigeria told CNBC Africa.
In addition, there are still concerns about the policy being well managed and not enough time for the international manufacturers to study and adapt to the Nigerian space as the last automotive policy failed.
“We are not manufacturers and we have to convince our principals that it is a worthwhile venture to do in Nigeria. We’ve had several failures in the past and we would not want to repeat the same thing,” he said.
As the policy was only approved on 2 October, Ade ojo believes that it needs to be studied more closely before the manufacturing processes can begin.
“We’ve been asking for this policy and we don’t just want to have the policy, we want to have the policy legislated on, so that if you embark on this course, there will be no sudden change in government policies,” he added.
Controversy also trails the policy as some of the automobile companies in Nigeria were said to have known about this policy before it was announced and thus carried out a mass importation.
As a result of this, car prices within the country will be expected to skyrocket but Adejo believes this can be managed.
“We don’t want a system that would just grind the travelling public to a halt. So, there must be sufficient planning to ensure that we do does not just kill our economy by sudden steps.”