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The Senate Committee on Privatization has expressed dismay that government agencies are not patronizing made in Nigerian vehicles, especially those made by Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria, PAN.
Chairman Senate Committee on Privatization, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, expressed his displeasure when he led committee members on an oversight to PAN in Kaduna on Monday.
He, however, said he was happy that the House of Representatives was buying PAN cars, assuring that the Senate would follow suit.
Senator Murray-Bruce said that the government had no business running a car company or hotel business, but should create enabling environment and policies that would make such ventures thrive under private ownership.
He said that the automobile industry was rapidly going through changes, and for PAN to remain in business, it has to develop vehicles using alternative fuel.
“I have been driving an electric car for three years, I have never had problems with it. An electric car has fewer parts.
“We will support you, but give us your plans to change to electric vehicles.
“Politician should drive made in Nigerian cars. Tell us your problems and we will support you. Call me today if you want us to come, we would come.
“We will support you to pay AMCON debt so that it can go back to the owners,” he assured.
The committee chairman said that he bought his first car in 1980 and his dad called him and advised him to always buy practical, not just expensive cars and since then, he started using only Peugeot cars.
Also speaking, Senator Mohammed Shaba Lafiagi, said that PAN was the only company standing among contemporaries, a feat that deserves commendation.
“What laws are needed to strengthen you so that your company and others can bounce back. The fact you are still here means you are fighting hard. I really salute your courage. Tell us what we need to encourage stopping of importing all rubbish called vehicles and we will support you,” he added.
The Director General of the BPE, Alex Oko who was also in the team, explained that AMCON’s intervention in PAN was clearly business, and not aimed at government ending privatization of the company.
Earlier, PAN Managing Director, Ibrahim Boyi, thanked the Senate and the National Assembly for passage of Auto Policy Bill.
He said that the auto industry was a very important segment for every country, because of its huge potentials for creating jobs.
“PAN survived and made major progress. At peak, produced 90,000 vehicles annually. Employed 4,000 workers directly then, empowering 7,000 people through multiplying effect,” he explained.
He stressed that no nation leaves it auto policy unguided or unregulated, not even America that promotes liberalization.
He recalled that PAN was incorporated in 1972, privatized in 2006, and ASD Motors took over in 2007, while in 2012, AMCON took over and has been managing the company since then.
He said that AMCON owns 80% of shares presently and that apart from ASD who owns 5%, other shareholders own below that.
“From 2016, we’ve turned around the fortunes of the company. Operationally we are profitable.
“The auto policy after announcement in 2013, has increased market value of PAN.
“The Pan Learning Centre (PLC) is one of the foremost training centres in automobile technology in Nigeria. It is accredited by several regulatory bodies like National Board For Technical Education (NBTE) and City and Guilds,” he told the visitors.