The President, Shippers’ Association Lagos State, Jonathan Nicol, said on Thursday that Nigeria is losing N800 million yearly to restriction of importation of cars with the present auto policy.
Nicol stated this in an interview with NAN in Lagos.
He said government should withdraw the auto policy of 70 per cent tariffs on cars “until the nation is ripe enough to produce our own vehicles”.
He said that the Ports and Terminal Multi-Services Ltd. (PTML) renowned for vehicle imports, was not receiving as many Roll On Roll Off (RORO) vessels they used to receive before now.
According to him, people are no longer bringing cars anymore as most now come through Cotonou port.
“Our ports are almost empty. Seventy per cent tariffs on cars is too expensive,” Nicol told NAN
The shipper said the auto policy put in place by the last administration should be immediately reversed to attract many of the cars being lost to ports in neighbouring countries.
“We should think of protecting local car manufacturers and assembly plants but this should be gradual.
“What we want is standards. If Nigerians decided to be helping their families by bringing fairly-used cars why should the government not encourage the families.
“Government should look at other maritime laws, restrictions and prohibition and reverse them,” the shipper said.
Nicol also suggested that government should establish the Ministry of Maritime, saying that what the incoming minister of transport would contend with would be too much.
He said the incoming minister of transport would have quite a whole lot of work on his table.
“The maritime industry has a barrage of problems awaiting the mister of transport.
“There is the need to get the right people to head the maritime institutions; there is the need to reduce the cost of doing business at the ports; and getting the roads fixed for the truck owners to evacuate boxes at the ports.
“Shippers, who make maritime industry tick, should have a synergy with the minister of transport,” he told NAN.
Nicol said with a maritime ministry, the minister would be able t take on-the-sport decisions on the progress of all stakeholders.
“Government should break the responsibilities of the ministry of transport into two ministries. The maritime industry will take more of the time of the incoming minister of transport,” the shipper told NAN.
He said with the ministry of maritime, a lot of problems in the ministry would be nipped in the bud.
“There will be port expansion; bottlenecks in cargo clearance will be solved; and people will try to get their cargoes out of the ports in 48 hours,” Nicol said.
He said for shippers (importers and exporters) to survive, the costs of doing business at the ports must come down.