Nigeria’s automobile industry received a boost with over $1billion investments from renowned auto manufacturers in 2019, thereby lifting capacity to at least 408,870 vehicles yearly.
The manufacturers, which include Honda, Peugeot, Innoson, and Mitsubishi among others, have also created employment for about 4,782 Nigerians.
The Director-General, National Automotive Design and Development (NADDC), Jelani Aliu disclosed this yesterday in his message to the ongoing review of the Nigerian Automotive Policy Bill, & Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP), in Abuja.
He also said the NADDC has put in place a N5billion vehicle finance package to assist Nigerians buy new cars, repayable at agreed terms instead of the current craze of patronising fairly-used cars, which has continued to drain the nation’s foreign reserves, and creating jobs for other countries.
He said: “Nigerians can now put down say, 10 percent of the value of cars they wants to buy and spread payments for over five years. This arrangement has been concluded with some selected banks in the country with the support by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). If we go this way, our citizens will also begin to enjoy ridding new vehicles.”
The participating banks includes Zenith, Wema and Jaiz.
Although government had banned vehicle importation through land borders, however, the Area Controller, Port Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML) Command, Nigeria Customs Service, Mrs. Florence Dixon, said the border closure has triggered increase in vehicle importation through the Lagos seaport to about 35 per cent as at third quarter 2019, without giving details.
This means that more Nigerian’s are still buying used vehicles, with the sale of brand new locally manufactured vehicles hitting only 11,000 units in 2019, up from the 10,000 recorded a year earlier.
General Manager of Stallion Motors in Nigeria, Arpita Roy Luthra, in a chat with The Guardian, said with the finance initiative 2020 sales will be much better.
She said: “I foresee an increase in sales in the new year. In fact, we are very happy with the kind of direction the government is taking. One is the closure of land borders, so that has boosted our businesses.”
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Cars45, an automotive trading platform, Etop Ikpe, also confirmed that land border closure has been a blessing to the auto companies.
He however said Nigeria needs to do more in making financing available for vehicle purchase, adding, “One key thing in this industry is financing. The NADDC (National Automotive Design and Development Council) is working on this.”
To this end, Aliu solicited the support of stakeholders to provide concrete recommendations that will be captured in the proposed new NAIDP bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage.
Declaring the dialogue open, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, said the Federal Government in efforts to implement the Nigerian Recovery and Growth Plan (NIRP), approved the new auto development plan to transform the Nigerian automotive industry and attract Investment into the sector.
He said it is however worrisome that in 2016, automobiles and automotive components importation gulped about $8 billion, which should never be allowed any longer.
The Minister charged participants to work in synergy and come up with better recommendations that could be put forward as concrete plan or bill to reverse the trend.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the NADDC Board, Senator Osita Izunaso, told participants to contribute immensely and come up with relevant recommendations that could be put together as an Executive Bill that will be passed to the National Assembly.
Izunaso said: “This meeting, organised by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMIT), in conjunction with the National Automotive Design and Development Council, brings together all actors in the Nigerian automotive industry, to discuss and review the efforts put in to get the Auto Policy Bill passed by the 8th National Assembly, but couldn’t get Presidential assent due to observed shortcomings.”
According to him, NAIDP 2014-2024, was designed to ensure growth and sustained development of the auto industry in Nigeria, stressing that the plan has five critical elements aimed at addressing various challenges facing the sectors, including infrastructure development, investment promotion, standards, skills development and marked expansion.
In his overview, NADDC Director, Policy and Planning, Farouk Umar, listed about 12 thematic areas the proposed amendments to the NAIDP must focus on. They include, proper definitions for what constitutes Semi Knocked Down (SKD), and Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts, the positions of all stakeholders that align with the NAIDP development and development of a basis for determining local content contribution, which will be largely based on value addition and labour fraction among others.