Cheaper Cars: LCCI urges FG on timely issuance of vehicle assemblers’ licenses

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…As Expert says only reduced Gov’t royalty can curb gold smuggling!***

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Sunday appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action on the issuance of the 2019 Vehicle Assemblers Certificate, if the Government desires to boost the growth of the nation’s automobile industry and see citizens buy cars at reduced prices. 

The Director-General of LCCI, Mr Muda Yusuf made the appeal in Lagos, noting that the protracted delay in the issuance of the Bonafide Vehicle Assemblers Certificate for the current year was already hurting investors in the automobile industry; just as the former President, Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), Alhaji Sani Shehu appealed to the Federal Government to reduce the high royalties placed on gold and other minerals, if it truly desires to curb smuggling of minerals.

“It is so absurd that a certificate that will be used for business operation for 2019 is yet to be issued in May. This delay is not ideal for the economy or investors.

“Some of these investors have invested over a million dollars to set up vehicle assembling plants based on the incentives that the government offers.

“Some of the assemblers already have their consignment of Semi- Knocked Down (SKDs) at the port, but cannot clear them at the approved 10 per cent concessionary import duty for SKDs.

“If they are to clear without the license, they will be charged 35 per cent, which is an additional cost to production,” he said.

Yusuf said that the Ministry of Finance was in-charge of the issuance of the certificate, thus urged the ministry to fast track the certificate issuance towards accelerating industrial and economic growth. 

Meanwhile, Alhaji Sani Shehu, the former President, Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Sunday appealed to the Federal Government to reduce the high royalties currently placed on gold and other minerals, if Government truly desires to curb the smuggling of gold and other minerals.

Shehu who made the appeal in Abuja, noting that the royalty charged on gold was on the high side and severely affecting gold merchants.

The former president said that in spite the huge gold available in the country, the mineral had not earned enough revenue for the Federal Government due to high royalty placed on the products.

“Gold merchants are avoiding the payment of royalty; they use different illegal routes and other alternative means to move gold out of the country due to high royalty.

“They are not paying royalty because it is affecting their business and profits, government must reduce royalty, make it a win-win situation that it can get its royalty while gold merchants makes their profits also.’’

He however, explained that some certain percentage of gold seen in Nigeria came from the neighboring countries, such as Ghana, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Algeria among others.

“What people don’t know is that certain percentages of gold they see in Nigeria come from neighbouring countries.

“I doubt if the government is aware of that; no fewer than 40 per cent of gold of different qualities that are in our country come from those countries.

“Government believed that all gold seen in Nigeria belongs to us that is not true, I am aware of this information because I have link with the grass root people within the mining industry.

“Those countries have made Nigeria gold deport, they bring their gold quietly to Nigeria because they believe that our country is highly influential and it has good market for their products, “he said.

Shehu also urged the Federal Government to investigate and harness the gold deport, as it could earn massive royalty through this means.

“The Federal government is losing money because the department and agencies saddled with the responsibility of monitoring the inflow/outflow of these products are grossly inadequate.

“There is need for the government to deploy more personnel and motivate them with adequate equipment to track and monitor gold entering/going out of the country.”

According to him, Nigeria is blessed with abundant gold in commercial quantity but it can only be acquired if there is adequate equipment to mine them.

“We are blessed with massive gold but we do not have the machinery and equipment to mine them, Nigerian miners are mining gold and other minerals with shovels and diggers.

“There is no way Nigeria can be a mining nation and grow the economy through the sector if miners continue to mine with shovel and diggers”, he stated further, advising the Government to apply wisdom while addressing the issue of illegal miners, and smugglers rather than prosecuting them.