The recent Nigerian Federal Government restrictions on importation of automobiles may have proved counter productive after all. Lamenting the ugly situation of the nation’s economy, Mr. Jonathan Nicol, who is the President of Shippers Association, Lagos State told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Nigeria has witnessed revenue loss in excess of N 800 billion due to the auto policy on imported vehicles.
Nicol also said: “70 percent tariff and levy on imported vehicles which took effect in 2015, has reduced vehicle imports by more than 50 percent. Sadly, other ports outside Nigeria including those of Benin, Togo and Ghana now accept the vehicles and are developing their economies from the imports. With the auto policy, government will be creating more room for smuggling.”
He advised the Federal Government to remove the ban on importation of essential goods which local industries cannot produce including automobile products. Nicol, a highly experienced player in the maritime industry pointed out that the nation’s maritime sector could have acted as a cushion against the current economic recession and provided enormous revenue for the country even more than the oil and gas sector. He claimed that in contrast to what obtains in Nigeria, shippers were revered and duly recognized in other countries as economic developers.
Nicol sees the recession in Nigeria’s economy as man – made and believes it could be corrected if the government took the necessary steps like the reversal of the foreign exchange policy on imports and exports .
The shipping magnate claimed the major problem with maritime administration in Nigeria was that most of the personnel had little or no knowledge of the operations of the industry. According to him, that had been the reason why most of the maritime officials find it difficult to defend some of the policies that were not working well.