President Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerians that his administration’s recent auto policy is not designed to cause hardship for them as being widely feared.
When it comes into effect, the policy will ultimately ban the importation of used cars popularly known as ‘Tokunbo’ – the major means through which middle-level and low-level Nigerians’ own cars.
The president, who made this known when he received a delegation of the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday, said the policy would be in the national interest on the long run.
According to Jonathan, once cars begin to be assembled in the country, a lot of Nigerian youths will be gainfully employed.
He commended the RTEAN for its support of the policy, saying: “We cannot come up with policy that will punish Nigerians, else I will abort it immediately.
“The country losses $4 billion to importation, but by the time that is spent on assembling and manufacturing, it will create jobs”.
President Jonathan was optimistic 2014 would be better for Nigeria and Nigerians than 2013.
“We should not be intimidated by challenges. We have to confront them in a way that will bring peace, unity and development of the country”, he said.
In his speech read earlier, the Executive National President of the RTEAN, Musa Isiwele, expressed the readiness of the union to partner the Federal Government on its plan to create 1.5 million jobs nationwide in the next one year.
According to Isiwele, the association had flagged off a special mass transit scheme of 4,000 units of exotic brands of taxis and commercial buses/vehicles as part of moves to complement the efforts of government to achieve safe, comfortable and effective road transport service delivery.
They demanded Federal Government’s Concessionary Sovereign Guarantee for loans and tarriff waivers on all vehicles imported by the RTEAN and land allocation for the establishment of world-class ultra-modern transit motor parks in each geopolitical zone of the federation with three to be established in Abuja to further add value to the FCT.