The Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, Jelani Aliyu, has met with eight key Japanese automotive manufacturers: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mistsubushi, Isuzu, Suzuki and Yamaha, with a view to wooing more investments into Nigeria.
Speaking while meeting with the representatives of the auto companies, Mr Aliyu called for bigger investments by setting up mega production and assembly plants in Nigeria.
According to him, Honda West Africa, Nissan/Stallion, Toyota/Elizade, Mitsubishi/CFAO, Suzuki/Boulos, Isuzu/Kewalrams and Yamaha/CFAO are already building vehicles in the country.
Mr Aliyu noted that these larger investments is coming at a time when the need for diversification in Nigeria is paramount to the country’s economy as the population continues to grow.
The director-general added that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, is also opening up Africa to wide opportunities for Nigerian automotive manufacturers.
“The discussions with the companies were very fruitful, with strong potential for the various manufacturers to significantly increase their operations and market footprint in Nigeria and contribute at an even higher level to the growth and sustainability of the Nigerian Automotive space,” Mr Aliyu disclosed.
Mr Aliyu disclosed that the agency had engaged an international firm, KPMG, to review the process of the Auto Policy in order to beef it up to the current pattern of global and regional automotive production and distribution.
He said: “KPMG is getting good support from the AAAM – African Association of Automotive Manufacturers.
“As soon as the draft policy is done by KPMG, it shall go as an executive bill to the National Assembly.
“The Senate and House Committees on Industry are giving their full support towards having this reviewed policy be backed by a legal framework.”
While highlighting some of key areas of the reviewed policy, said the draft when it becomes law would further boost the financial advantages of local production/assembly, clear import duty differential between locally assembled vehicles and those imported fully built and tax waivers.
Other key areas included facilitating the establishment of dedicated customs corridors/services, provision of single digit capital financing for both manufacturers and buyers, mandatory government patronage, all in favour of local production/assembly.
Also speaking, the Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Husaini Moriki, urged the Japanese companies to identify areas of focus that the companies would like the Nigerian government to intervene.
Mr Moriki added that the intervention will be aimed at proving better business environment, “especially now that the NAIDP and the Auto Policy are being reviewed by the NADDC”.
The ambassador commended Mr Aliyu for reviving the Nigerian Automotive industry, urging the Japanese companies to collaborate with the NADDC in training and upskilling of Nigerian youth at the 18 Automotive Training Centers built by the agency across the country.
On his part, the chairman of the House Committee on Industry, Enitan Badru, promised to provide necessary legislative support to the new auto policy, “so that it gives the investors the confidence and stability to invest in Nigeria”.
He stressed the importance of the vehicle finance scheme for the purchase of those locally produced vehicles.