Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, has accused government officials of patronising foreign made vehicles, describing the officials as unpatriotic Nigerians.
The Senator expressed dissatisfaction towards the continuous demand for foreign made vehicles by public officeholders, when he led committee members on an oversight visit to Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria (PAN), in Kaduna.
According to him, it is upsetting to note that government agencies that should promote patronage of made in Nigeria goods do not buy locally made vehicles like those made by PAN.
He said: “the House of Representatives brought made in Nigeria cars, the Senate did not. And I think that’s wrong. The biggest problem we have in Nigeria is that people who lead us are not patriotic Nigerians. You can’t talk about unemployment if you go around driving cars that are not made in Nigeria, whereby you put Nigerians out of work.
“Maybe we will make a law that when we catch any government official driving a non-made in Nigeria car, we will make sure we let people who voted him/her to understand that he is not a patriotic Nigerian.”
The lawmaker however assured PAN of the committee’s commitment to assist in doing everything humanly possible in reviving the automobile sector. “Tell us what you need and we will support you unconditionally,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director, PAN, Ibrahim Boyi, identified smuggling and inconsistent government policies as major challenges facing the automobile sector. “Full implementation of importation policy and enforcement is key to reviving the automobile sector,” he said.“The Auto industry is a very important segment for every country’s economy because of its huge potential for creating jobs.
No nation leaves it auto policy unguided or unregulated, not even America that promotes liberalisation,” he added.
Meanwhile, Boyi said as part of PAN’s corporate social responsibility, they have social programmes used to empower the youths, under the Shade Tree Youth Empowerment Initiative.