Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr. Jelani Aliyu, has insisted the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) also known as auto policy which the council is implementing is working and has attracted over $1bn investment.
According to him, Nigeria has now become a major vehicle assembling country and more companies have indicated interest to take advantage of the automotive market in Nigeria.
“We are generally implementing the NAIDP and I think it is very important to set some facts straight. The industry has come a long way. It is succeeding and will continue to succeed,” he said.
He spoke in an interview on the NTA Network Service monitored by our correspondent.
Daily Trust reports that the DG made his remark despite the agitation for the passage of the auto policy Bill which has suffered several delays over the years with players and stakeholders in the sector lamenting the absence of a legal framework that would aid their investment in the sector.
But despite the delay in the passage of the NAIDP Act, he said the sector has reported exponential growth in the last few years while more jobs have been created.
He said, “The industry has come a long way. It is succeeding and will continue to succeed. Let us look at where we were in the 70’s and 80’s. The industry was looking up. Then in 86, the price of crude oil crashed from 24 dollars per barrel to below 10 dollars per barrel. At that time, that was the one commodity that Nigeria was still dependent on, it sent Nigeria into recession.
“People could no longer buy those Peugeots and Volkswagens, they had to close shop and leave. The Federal Government said that wouldn’t be allowed to happen. So the NAIDP implementation began. NADDC is championing that policy.
“When we talk about automotive policy, it has yielded results that is why we have over 1 billion dollars invested in Nigeria by many companies in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Kano and many other places.
“These companies are actively producing quite a number of vehicles. We have a whole lot more than six companies that are actively operating in Nigeria. These companies have a combined capacity of over 400,000 vehicles per annum.
“So both the government and the investors have delivered. The challenge being faced is the market. It takes certain measures for the market to really grow. We need vehicle financing, we need the economy itself to grow and it has continued to grow because you are talking about the purchasing power of the average Nigerian that needs to grow.”
He said the auto industry in Nigeria cannot be divorced from the global economic forces, adding, “Just like the price of crude oil depends on global forces, so also the price of various components used in producing a vehicle.”
“There is a certain level of affordability that you cannot go below. But yet there are companies who have invested in Nigeria, invested in producing vehicles. These vehicles are available for purchase,” Aliyu stated.
He explained that the Executive orders three and five passed by President Muhammadu Buhari “will go a long way in ensuring that all MDAs purchase Made-in-Nigeria vehicles.
“We additionally call on government agencies to also patronize vehicles made in Nigeria. We also call on companies, especially those working on government contracts and projects to purchase vehicles made in Nigeria. We believe this will go a long way in unlocking the potential of the country. But the capacity to build 100 thousand vehicles in Nigeria already exists,” he stated.