30 vehicle manufacturing plants take off soon

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The National Automotive Council on Tuesday said 30 vehicle manufacturing plants would soon commence operation in the country..

The Director, Policy and Planning, Mr Lukman Mahmud, made the disclosure in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

He said the Federal Government was working toward facilitating the production of vehicle components at competitive prices through the Nigerian automotive industry and to create employment opportunities.

Mahmud explained that prior to the pronouncement of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan in 2013, Nigeria had 14 existing plants across the nation.

“The protection and incentives provided to the industry under the new policy persuaded 16 companies to establish assembly plants,” he said.

Mahmud added that the motor assembling companies would come in with complete and semi-knock-down vehicles.

He said Peugeot Automobile Nigeria, Leyland, Fiat, Volkswagen and Mercedes were the complete Knock-down assembling plants that were forced to shut down due to the influx of imported cars or and second hand vehicles otherwise called “Tokunbo”.

Mahmud said the idea of Semi-Knock-Down and Complete Knock-Down import was to address the demand from the automobile market due to eventual hike on tariff and levy of imported fairly used cars.

The director said the policy made provision for high patronage from government and Credit Purchase Scheme.

He explained that under the credit purchase scheme, middle class Nigerians would buy cars at affordable prices and pay back within 36 to 46 months and at single digit interest.

He added that modalities were being worked out with all stakeholders in the sector to curtail smuggling of used cars.

Mahmud said that when stability was achieved and the demand from market met, the manufactures would buy the component parts locally.

“Plans are in top gear to revive the auto glass company in Ibadan, car seat company at Kaduna, Nocaco Auto Wires, exhaust pipes and many more parts and consumable producers in the country,” he said.

The director told NAN that the council had established material testing laboratory in Zaria, Kaduna State; components testing laboratory in Enugu and emission testing laboratory in Lagos.

“All these are to ensure that the components to be produced are of international standard,” he said.

Mahmud said that a critical element of the policy was under legislation at the National Assembly to avoid policy somersault and protection of the investors in the sector. (NAN)

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