Abuja based Lawyer, Rights Activist and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate for Imo East Senatorial District in the February 25, 2023 general elections, Mr Chyma Anthony has blamed the federal government for creating opportunity for Japanese car maker,
Toyota to amass billions of naira from Nigeria at the detriment of local automakers.
Anthony criticised the government for looking elsewhere whilst Toyota Company harvested from Nigeria billions of dollars annually without a functional assembling plant in the country.
The Senate hopeful while speaking with journalists yesterday in Owerri, Imo State on a campaign train said the excess profit in the quantum of capital flight out of Nigeria into the coffers of Toyota in the name of car importation is enough to place each unemployed Nigerian on 100,000 naira monthly social benefit.
Anthony revealed that seven to eight out of every vehicle on the roads of Africa’s most populous nation is manufactured by Toyota, meaning that about N8 million made from each N10 million gotten from car importation goes to Toyota, “yet the Japanese Auto company had persistently refused to open a functional manufacturing or assembly plant in Nigeria”.
This shocking reality which had not been probed by the National Assembly, Anthony said, is the reason Nigerians in 2023 must demand for a fresh and new crop of lawmakers who are ready to get for Nigerians what naturally belongs to them through effective, proactive and efficient representation.
“In 2016, Toyota tried out of persuasion to open an “imaginary” plant in Lagos. They rolled out a Toyota Hiace or so on one off push, and stopped operations. President Buhari in Yokohama, Japan at a business roundtable in 2019 pleaded with Toyota to open a car plant in Nigeria, this fell on deaf ears despite huge patronage from our country.
“In 2021, Toyota to the chagrin of all men of good conscience across the globe opened yet a second car assembly plant in Ghana with production capacity of about 2,000, snubbing Nigeria and slighting President Buhari.
“Today, Nigeria imports Toyota vehicles from South Africa and Ghana, yet, Nigeria is Toyota’s biggest market in Africa.
“When you confront some of Toyota promoters in Nigeria, they keep giving you lame excuses of why the company can’t establish a plant in Nigeria now. “They sometimes blame it on the delay of the passage of the National Automobile Industry Development Bill.
“I won’t fold my arms and helplessly watch Toyota continue to steal from Nigeria with impunity, federal, state, local governments, institutions, individuals, etc., spend a lot in Forex to import Toyota vehicles, leading to unimaginably huge capital flight
“If Toyota sets up a plant in Nigeria, given our huge patronage and demography, these excess profits in these big capital flights going into the coffers of Toyota would benefit all of us. It might be used as a social benefit for the unemployed,” Anthony said.
He further stated that the vehicle plants would employ a good number of Nigerians especially youths thusly reducing the rate of unemployment.
“I, Chyma Anthony, APGA candidate for Imo East Senatorial District (Owerri zone) hereby call on President Muhammadu Buhari to use his powers vide Executive fiat to ban the importation of any brand of Toyota vehicles till further notice.
“He should also invalidate, with immediate effect, any form of licence for the importation of Toyota vehicles into Nigeria or for non functional assembly plant already issued to Toyota, until they are ready to come to the roundtable to give us assurances on establishment of manufacturing or assembly plant in Nigeria,” he said.
Anthony also said other vehicle companies and Nigeria’s indigenous auto concerns like Innoson, already assembling or manufacturing cars in Nigeria must be given the needed support by the federal government and all and sundry to thrive and contribute their quota in the overall development of the country.
This he said will in turn push Toyota into a tight corner, that they may wear their thinking cap to choose between setting up assembly or manufacturing plants in Nigeria or be pushed out of the auto market of the biggest economy in Africa.