By Emmanuel Adesuji, Abuja.
The Senate President, Senator David Mark, on Thursday expressed worry over the poor state of power in Nigeria, declaring that the is not prepared for a sustainable automotive industry due to inadequate power supply in the country.
Mark who made this known in his remarks on the automotive Industry bill which scaled into second reading, said no investor would put his money in the sector if we cannot guarantee him power, “because if he is going to run on generator 24 hours, he will never be able to compete in the international Automotive market.
“On paper, this is an excellent bill and there is absolutely no doubt about it, but what is more important is that it is not just this bill alone that will solve the problem of the automotive industry in Nigeria.
“Beyond this bill, practically on ground we are not just prepared because no investor is going to put his money here if you cannot guarantee him power because If he is going to run on generator 24 hours, he will never be able to compete in the international Automotive market.
“It is not a matter of producing rubber for Michelin, it is beyond that. DICON, which is in Kaduna today was established the same time with the one in Brazil and India. Today the equivalent in Brazil is building ships, aircrafts, armoured cars, DICON in Nigeria is producing furniture.
“We are missing the point not by this bill but by not laying the foundation for which this bill can become sustainable”
He however commended the Executive for coming up with the Bill which he said only needs to be practically supported by putting other required things on ground for it to be meaningfully implemented after final passage.
“My suggestion is, this is an excellent bill, we should pass it, we should commend government but we must let government know that for this bill to be meaningful, a few other things must be put in place almost immediately along with this bill.
“Sincerely, I agree that this government is doing very well and we are doing our best also to see to its passage with the belief that other things required, would be provided for”.
Leading the debate on the bill, the leader of the Senate, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, said the bill is designed to confer pioneer status, provide tariff incentives and income tax reliefs on automobile and automotive components as well as specify Federal Government ‘s assurances and guarantees to the automobile and tyre enterprises under the Nigerian Automotive I dusty Development Plan.
The leader recalled that the Nigerian automotive industry represented by Peugeot automobile of Nigeria in Kaduna, Volkswagen of Nigeria in Lagos, Styre Nigeria in Bauchi, Leyland Nigeria in Ibadan, ANAMCO Enugu, NTM Kano etc, at its peak, had a combined annual output of well over 150, 000 automobiles at an estimated value of N450billion as against about N600billion worth of second hand vehicles being imported into the country on yearly basis now.
By Emmanuel Adesuji, Abuja.