Govt okays new automotive policy! • To buy all vehicles from local firms. • Moves to phase out tokunbo.

The council, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, in taking the decision, said the policy was aimed at transforming the nation’s automotive industry and attracting investment into it.
Under the new policy for which the council is seeking legislative backing from the National Assembly, procurement of all vehicles by the Federal Government should be from local assembly plants. The only exception is where such vehicles are of specialised nature and there must be a certification from the National Automotive Council that they are not produced in Nigeria.
The approval of the new policy comes with the council’s position that it should eventually lead to the gradual phase-off of importation of fairly used (tokunbo) vehicles from the country.
Nigeria spent N4.2 billion on importation of vehicles in 2010 alone.
The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, along with the Ministers of the Federal Capital Territory (Senator Bala Mohammed) and Trade and Investment (Dr. Olusegun Aganga), told journalists at the end of the council meeting that “a transformed automotive industry will realise its potential as a major driver of economic growth and diversification, job creation, local value addition, and technology acquisition. These recommendations were adopted at various fora, conferences and consultations with stakeholders, including some original equipment manufacturers.
“After deliberation, the council approved the Automotive Industrial Policy Development Plan. The council also approved that government should direct that all vehicles purchased by government should be from the local assembly plants unless it is specialised nature and NAC has certified that it is not produced in Nigeria. The council approved that the approved recommendation should be backed by appropriate legislation to give comfort to investors that there will be no abrupt change in policy.”
Aganga said that in arriving at the policy, which took government about nine months to put together, it got input of some vehicle manufacturing giants like Nissan and Toyota.
These companies, he added, would soon announce their investments in the country. He added that his ministry had taken note of what led to the collapse of similar policies in the past and had taken measures to avoid the same fate.
Towards this end, the Federal Government is taking measures, including establishment of three automotive clusters across the country, and the revival of the metal/steel and tyre manufacturing industries.
Aganga added that the government would work on tariff to encourage local manufacturers and discourage importation of vehicles.
Mohammed said the council approved the rehabilitation and expansion of the outer Southern Expressway in the FCT from the Presidential Villa roundabout to the Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX)/Ring Road 1(RR1) junction, including five interchanges at the cost of N39 billion.
The projects, according to him, are aimed at ensuring a free flow of traffic and to significantly reduce travel time in and out of the city.
He said: “The existing segment of the OSEX from the Villa roundabout to RR1 is only partially developed with a two-lane main carriageway and one two-lane service carriageway as against the 10-lane expressway provided in the Abuja Master-Plan. The OSEX is an expressway that bounds the city on the eastern fringe and provides the major access to the city. The project would provide employment opportunity for about 1,500 professionals, artisans, skilled and unskilled labour.”
He added that the council approved the provision of engineering infrastructure to Plot 4075, Asokoro extension (comprising 50 plots) at the cost of N1.6 billion.
Plot 4075, Cadastral Zone B04 in Asokoro District extension was originally one of the large plots but was re-designed and sub-divided into 50 smaller residential plots.