Thursday, July 22, 2021

Nigeria’s auto industry attracted over $1bn investments — Jelani Aliyu

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, Jelani Aliyu, has disclosed that Nigeria’s automotive industry attracted over one billion dollars in investments since 2019.

Mr Aliyu, who disclosed this in an interview with select newsmen, said these achievements followed a religious implementation of the National Automotive Industrial Development Plan, NAIDP, by the agency under his leadership.

According to him, NAIDP is a program consisting of five key elements which create a comprehensive ecosystem in the assembly and production of vehicles in the country.

He said: “The first key is Investment Promotion, and then Market Development, then Infrastructural Development, Establishment of Standards and lastly, Manpower Development.

“Now on the investment promotion, how do we convince both local and international investors to come to Nigeria and set up automobile factories?

“Well, I’m lucky to say we have been very successful. So far, as of 2019 over 1 billion U.S dollars has been invested into Nigeria.

“We have companies assembling and producing vehicles here, companies like Dangote Sinotrucks, Innoson of Nnewi, Honda, Toyota, PAN, and we even now have a new company coming up: Dangote Peugeot in Kaduna.

“There is Kojo Motors, they are also very committed Nigerians who are making huge contributions to the development of the automotive sector.

“There are other investors such as Lanre Shittu, he is doing some amazing stuff; Elizade is also doing great stuff, and Stallion Motors is also doing amazing stuff.

“Anammco in Enugu is also one of our very strong stakeholders. They assemble full-size trucks right there at their facility and they also offer mechatronics training to the youth in the area and around the country.

“So we have investments, as I mentioned earlier, that are increasingly coming into the country because of very committed companies and very committed Nigerians who really hope for the best for this nation and its people.

“I would say that that drive for foreign direct investment is yielding results already.

“A lot of the vehicles we see on our roads are actually assembled or made in the country, so that’s investment promotion

“I must also say that we have convinced Volkswagen to come back into Nigeria and we hope that very soon they will also be setting up their own factory.”

On the second pillar, which is Market Development, the director-general revealed that his agency was working with JAIZ and Zenith Banks towards providing single-digit financing for automotive credit scheme so that Nigerians could put down their 10% and drive brand new vehicles and pay over five years.

According to him, the agency is waiting for the final approval of the program by the Presidency and the agency’s supervising ministry.

Speaking on the third pillar, which is Infrastructural Development, Mr Aliyu revealed that the agency had commenced the construction of three automotive industrial parks across the country.

According to him, the move is aimed at combating the challenge of the poor working environment for auto engineers and technicians.

He said: “We know that we have challenges with our infrastructure and a lot of work is being made but how do we even expedite that on our own?

“That is why we are in the process of building three automotive industrial parks.

“Work has started in Nnewi automotive industrial park, the industrial park in Ondo and the industrial park in Kaduna.

“We hope that these will be centralized locations where potential investors or even those who are already producing in Nigeria can easily plug in and play and set up shop, because we would be providing all the necessary infrastructures, electricity, water, connectivity and manpower.”

The fourth pillar, according to Mr Aliyu, is the need for the improvement of standards.

According to the NADDC Boss, the chances of acquiring quality spare parts are low which is why the improvement of standards was selected as the fourth key.

“We all know the challenges automotive automobile owners face if something goes wrong with your vehicle, you take it to the mechanic, he may fix it or he may make it worse, and then when he puts in a spare part, it may be a good one but chances are it may be a fake then you are back to him again and again.

“So I always say we are working on doing what NAFDAC does.  You know NAFDAC goes after foods and drugs to make sure that they meet global standards.

“We are about to do that, because we are about 95 percent with the development and construction of three automotive testing centres.

“We have one in Zaria that will test materials to go into automotive production. We have a testing center, a machine testing center, in Lagos, and we have a product testing center, a component testing center, in Enugu.

“If it wasn’t for COVID-19 we would have completed them.

“So, as soon as these centres become operational, any product or vehicle that doesn’t get the stamp in any one of these testing centers will be deemed illegal under Nigerian market,” Mr Aliyu stressed.

On the last pillar, which is Manpower Development, the director-general said the agency had set up six training centres across the geopolitical zones in the country where young Nigerians would be able to study new technologies of vehicles coming into Nigeria.

He said: “The automotive sector globally is experiencing amazing development in terms of vehicle electrification, vehicle autonomy and other advanced technologies.

“We hope that these six training centres wold be facilities where young Nigerians would be able to study new technologies of vehicles coming into Nigeria.”

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