Stories by Favour Nnabugwu
The Federal Government has begun inspection of local automotive assembly plants across the country as evidence of the implementation of the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan.
Speaking during the inspection of the Peugeot Automotive Nigeria (PAN) car assembly plant in Kaduna on Friday, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said more local and international investors were taking advantage of the huge opportunities provided by the new automotive plan to invest in Nigeria.
The minister said: ”I am greatly encouraged by the facilities I’ve seen here at PAN’s car assembly plant in Kaduna, which I am told is the biggest in West Africa. It shows that we are not just starting from the scratch when we say that we want to encourage automobile companies to establish and assemble their cars here in Nigeria, in line with the new automotive policy.
“One of the reasons PAN’s massive and world class facility, which used to employ about 4,000 Nigerians, went under was the absence of a comprehensive and holistic auto policy that takes care of the entire automotive value chain. This is what the new auto policy wants to address.”
He added: ”Also, I have been greatly encouraged by the announcements that have been made by reputable and global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMS) that they are coming to establish their automotive assembly plants in Nigeria.
Nissan has said that it is coming to Nigeria, and that its first car will be produced in the country by April. They have already sent their technical team and are working with their local partners in Nigeria.
”Hyundai is also coming to assemble its vehicles in Nigeria and has already sent its SDKs into the country; Innoson has already signed an agreement with two Chinese Companies to expand its existing automobile assembly plants. These show that we have made remarkable progress just within a period of four months since the policy was approved and announced.”
The Minister reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to the full implementation of the auto policy, and stressed that Government would continue to provide an enabling environment and level playing field for all stakeholders in the auto industry.
He said: “So far, we have been pleasantly surprised by the positive response from local and international investors who are already taking advantage or have signified their interest in leveraging the huge opportunities provided by the new automotive policy.
As a matter of fact, it took many years for some automobile manufacturing countries to attract the level of attention and interest which Nigeria is getting today. For example, when South Africa came up with their auto policy, they had to go to each of the OEMs to convince them to come and invest in South Africa.