NEC urges states to patronise locally made vehicles

The National Economic Council (NEC) has urged state governments to patronise locally manufactured and assembled vehicles in order to boost the nation’s automotive industry.

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State virtually briefed State House correspondents on Thursday after a virtual NEC meeting anchored from the Presidential Villa, Abuja and presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said that the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) through the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment sought the support of NEC in obtaining the firm commitment of governors to procure locally assembled vehicles.

The governor said that NADDC’s request would address the burden of the public transportation system on citizens; provide vehicles for official use by the states and for personal use.

“The council deliberated deeply on the automobile industry, and recommended to all state governments to patronise locally made and assembled vehicles.

“That was a concise statement; it was almost a directive that they should do that.

“Then secondly, the council did recommend financing to support the purchase of those vehicles off the automobile manufacturers; because that’s a way of helping them to reduce the stock that they have.

“So, the two comments are worthwhile and they are going to improve on the performance of local manufacturers.’’

He said that Nigeria’s automotive industry had achieved 1 billion dollars investment; 63 licences issued, over 30 active assembly plants and 400, 000 vehicles per annum.

On the current fuel situation in the country, Obiano said there was a suggestion that the issue of another hike in price of fuel be put on hold.

“So, that’s not going to be considered to the best of my knowledge,’’ he said.

Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, said there was a presentation by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the fuel situation.

“There was a presentation by the NNPC Group Managing Director, on the current fuel situation in the country and he did explain what has happened to cause what he described as panic buying.

“Essentially saying that there has been a gap because of the supply; there was a problem in the supply as we all know due to the infusion of about 20 per cent methanol in the PMS that was supplied to the country which obviously was not supposed to be.

“And he said that investigation is going on but in the interim, he says that they are boosting NNPC; people in the industry are boosting the supply of PMS to cover the gap and that hopefully, by next week, this situation would have been sorted out.’’

Akande said the NNPC boss described what was going on as panic buying; people trying to buy because they expected that there would be scarcity.

He said the NNPC gave an assurance that it had enough vessels that would arrive in the country to redress the situation.

“We are assured that what has happened was as a result of the gap in the supply and NNPC has ordered several vessels of PMS; of fresh supply; some of which he said are already arriving in country.

“So, his estimate is that by next week, this problem would be sorted out; that was what the council members were briefed on.’’

The vice president’s spokesman said that the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning provided an update on the federation accounts

`Also, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, also gave a report on the financial figures; he said that Excess Crude Account as at Feb. 16,  stood at 35.9 million dollars.

“The balance of the Stablisation Account as at Feb. 16, stood at  N30.5 billion and finally, he also reported that the Development of Natural Resources Account as at Feb. 16 stood at  N51.04 million,’’ Akande said.

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