By Etuka Sunday
The Director General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, (NADDC), Jelani Aliyu, (MFR), said the council will soon commence the implementation of the national automotive industry development bill, (NAIDP).
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday during the Seminar/Workshop on the Impact of the Automotive Industry on the Economic Growth of Nigeria, Lessons from China, India and Southeast Asia, the NADDC director general said the council will continue to develop and implement policies that will develop the automotive sector in Nigeria and put it on the global economic map.
According to Aliyu, The Nigerian government through the NADDC is working to accelerate the process of gradual transition from the importation of used cars to the manufacture and distribution of new passenger vehicles, alongside providing a conducive legislative environment that will encourage the manufacturing of motor vehicles in Nigeria.
He lamented that the country spends more than 8 billion dollars annually importing used vehicles into the country, adding that practice was not sustainable for the economic growth and development of Nigeria.
The NADDC director general maintained that the gradual reduction of imported used cars is critical to the success of the Nigerian automotive industry as this will open the market for new cars made in Nigeria.
To ensure the sustainability of the incoming auto boom in Nigeria, NADDC, the director general said NADDC was already working to launch a new auto finance fund to enable more Nigerians to acquire new cars and corporate/commercial organizations re-fleet their pool with new vehicles.
The availability of consumer financing will be another benefit, Aliyu says, as there will be fast and competitive logistics from harbour to trucking; including efficient administrative processes, particularly involving the Customs.
The director general said massive job creation, marketing programme, standard, human capital development, local content development and carbon emission reduction/elimination are other areas that the NADDC has worked on to ensure the success and sustainability of the expected boom in Nigeria’s automotive sector.
“The development of automotive laboratories as provided for in the plant for safety tests are now at 70 percent completion stage. There is the material test lab in Zaria, the component test lab in Enugu and the emission test lab in Lagos”, Aliyu added.
According to him, NADDC is also working closely with global auto manufacturers like Nissan, Toyota, BMW and Ford amongst others to ensure that wholly Nigerian produced vehicles quickly become a reality.
”The council will also consolidate on providing support, technical expertise and direction to the industry, including to indigenous vehicles manufacturers like Innoson, in order to fastrack the process of achieving the mandate of the council for the sustainable development of the automotive industry in Nigeria”, he explained.
“The council’s focus and commitment remains on initiating policies, implementing strategies and bringing in world class approaches that will make Nigeria become and remain the center for automotive development in Africa”, he said.
The seminar drew participants from the automotive industry, stakeholders and relevant agencies, including vehicle assemblers, original equipment manufacturers, and components makers.
Other agencies like the Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, Bank of Industry, Nigerian Customs Service, Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment also attended the seminar/workshop.
While reacting to suggestions that the auto policy has led to huge reduction in vehicle imports and downturn in import duties, the director general said Nigeria, with a very large population, cannot continue to afford the luxury of running an import dependent economy while her citizens roam about without jobs.
According to the NADDC boss, major manufacturers of global brands of vehicles and original equipment manufacturers were being invited to setup production plants in Nigeria towards making Nigeria a major vehicle manufacturing hub for Africa.
He disclosed that within the next few months that the Council will roll out a nationwide affordable vehicle purchase credit scheme at single digit interest rate, spread over a period of about four years, as an initiative to boost patronage of locally produced automobiles.
Earlier while welcoming guests and participants to the event, the Director of Finance of the council, Dr David Oyentunji, said the seminar was painstakingly planned to meet with the current realities and demands of the sector.
He urged participants and stakeholders to key into the policies and programmes of the council, in order to move the industry and the sector forward in the right direction.