The Senate President, David Mark, on Thursday said Nigeria was not ready for the Nigeria Automotive Industry Bill.
Mr. Mark said he did not think Nigeria had the right resources to implement the law if passed.
He spoke during deliberation on the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development plan (Fiscal Incentives, assurance and guarantees) Bill which passed its second reading on Thursday.
Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) representing Cross River Central Senatorial District, the senate leader, sponsored the bill.
The objective of this bill is to create revenue and expand the automobile market in Nigeria.
Mr. Mark said the bill was a good one without doubt but it won’t solve the problem in Nigeria’s automotive industry.
He said Nigeria was not prepared for the bill to be carried out because no investor would put his money were 24 hours power was not guaranteed.
He said a good foundation had not been laid to enable the bill become a success.
“This is an excellent bill, we should pass it. We are missing the point not by this bill but you know because we have not laid the foundation for which this bill can become sustainable.
“I believe that the implementation is very important and unless we get these other factors together, this will remain absolutely good on paper but in practice it is going to be very difficult to get it right.
“China has protectionist policy; today, everybody is going to China. India has protectionist policy, there is no country does not have the protectionist policy but we abandon our own because we have failed in several other areas,” he said.
Mr. Egba, the sponsor of the bill, said there was a huge automobile market in Nigeria and the bill would create opportunities to increase the standard of living of citizens and earn great revenue for the country.
He also said the objectives – income tax relief, tariff re-adjustment, administration and assurances would enhance the prospects of development of automotive in Nigeria.
Mr. Ndoma-Egba said about 400,000 vehicles worth over N550 billion were imported into the country in 2012.
“A total of about 400,000 vehicles – 100,000 new and 300,000 used – valued at over N550billion were imported in 2012. The Bill will thus facilitate the injection of foreign direct investment into the economy,” he said.
In concluding, Mr. Mark commended the government for its good work.
“We should commend government but we must let government know that for this bill to be meaningful, a few other things must be out in place, almost immediately along this bill.
“Sincerely, I agree that this government is doing very well and we are doing our best so that we implement these bills that we pass,” he said.