The nations Iron and Steel industry must grow from its current state of importing entire flat steel sheet and alloy profiles needed for automotive manufacturing for a successful take of automobile industry and assemble plant in the country.
The Executive Director, Centre for Automotive Design and development, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) Samaru Zaria, Engr. (Dr.) Fidelis M. Achiv disclosed this in a paper he presented at 4th National Engineering Conference and AGM of Automotive Engineers Institutes held in Kaduna recently.
Engr. Achiv said at moment Nigeria imports entire flat steel sheet and alloy profiles needed for automotive manufacturing.
The paper titled “The Development of a Sustainable Automotive Infrastructure in Nigeria” noted that even with the emergence of new materials such as composites which has resulted in drop in the use of steel for vehicle manufacturing steel still account for over 50 percent of the entire materials used for vehicle construction.
He further stated that the nations’ steel currently could only serve the construction industry, stressing that the steel needs to be expanded to produce flat sheets and special alloys and profiles before it can serve the automotive industry.
The Director also stated that the Foundries, Forge Shops and Machine Tool which plays a strategic role in the development of auto industry are grossly under development as some of the vehicle parts are cast, forged or machined.
According to him, the linkage potential of foundries and forge shops are enormous and extensive as they provide the basic products that required for machine building.
Engr. Achiv further explained that the Centre for automotive design and development, a parastatal under the supervision of FMITI, whose responsibility is to research, develop, and test vehicle prototypes using local capacity and capability and develop the infrastructure of the auto industry as much as possible amongst others, has produced some prototype vehicles, two tricycles with a pick-up unit and a commuter version and 2 units of 800cc, 4 stroke engine respectively.
According to him, when the commercial production of these vehicles begins, it would bring about a massive boost to the development of critical infrastructures required for the auto sector in Nigeria.
“The development of Nigerian automotive industry would bring about an expansive growth and development of other key infrastructures some of which include power, roads, housing estates, banks and robotics,” he said.
In a welcome address, the Chairman of Automotive Engineers Institute Engr. Austine Okolo said the need for robust framework for the development of automotive engineering in Nigeria can never be overemphasized.
He said the institute has been following with keen interest, the efforts been made By industry, trade and investment Minister and his team to bequeath on stakeholders a well structured road map for the development of Nigerian automotive sector, urging the Minister not to relent in his effort till the bill before national assembly is sign into law.
Implications of infrastructural development of the National Automotive Industry Development Plans launched in October 2013 by Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Olusegun Aganga has been identified by automotive experts.