By Franklin Alli
CAPACITY Utilisation in the nationâ€™s automotive industry has dropped from 90 per cent to 10 per cent.
However, in a fresh bid to stimulate activities in the sector, the Federal Government has approved the merger of the National Automotive Council (NAC) and the Centre for Automotive Design and Development Council(CADDC).
â€œCapacity utilisation in the sub sector which was peaking at 90 per cent in 1981 isÂ 10 per cent in 2009,â€ said Director General of NAC, Engr. Aminu Jalal.
Speaking during a seminar organised by the Council in collaboration with UNIDO, Jalal noted that the sector has performed poorly over the years due to lack of adequate engineering infrastructure and uncontrolled importations of fully built up units (FBUs), partial implementation of partnership agreements, lack of protective measures as well as shrunk market.
He listed the concrete benefits the nation will deriveÂ directly from the industry if properly planned and developed to includeÂ employment generation, conservation of foreign exchange, effective utilisation of local raw materials and acquisition of technological know-how.On the merger of the Council with CADDC, he disclosed that the merger will be completed by the end of the year.
Government, he disclosed, has approved the merger of the two Council to form the National Automotive Design and Development Council which mandate will be to design and develop low cost vehicle prototypes.
He stated that in order to ensure the survival, growth and development of the sector there is need for adequate demand, low interest finance, tariff protection, and technology upgrading.
The Council he said has not rest on its oars, conducting campaign on patronage of local automotive products, and canvassing for adequate tariff protection for the sector.
For instance, the Council, he said, is seeking for the reduction of the age ban of eight years for imports of used vehicle to five, and an age ban of 10 years should be introduced for commercial vehicles as there is none now.