… as assembly lines are turned to workshops

How Lanre Shittu has impacted auto industry for 40 years — Director
One of the assembly plants.

By Theodore Opara

THE chairman of Auto and Allied Sub-Sector Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI and Deputy Managing Director of CFAO Motors, Mr. Kunle Jaiyesimi, has cried out over the state of the nation’s automotive industry.

Jaiyesimi while making a presentation at the seventh edition of the Nigeria Auto Journalists Association Training/Capacity- building workshop at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the auto plants set up at the auto company are almost dying and need urgent intervention.

According to him: “Auto plants in Nigeria are being turned into mere workshops by the investors as a result of adverse conditions in the sector.” Describing the situation as precarious, Jaiyesimi lamented that most of the investors were relocating to Ghana which came to Nigeria to borrow the Nigeria Auto Policy and improved on it thereby making it workable for their country.

The CFAO deputy managing director who used his company as a case study said CFAO was not immune to the catalogue of woes that the local automotive industry was passing through despite the efforts made so far to build the sector to an enviable position. He said that his company has been having the impact of the prevailing economic situation but has decided not to lay off their workers.

To keep the employees, he disclosed that CFAO had since converted their assembly plant to after-sales and not wanting to lay off the staff in this arm, they were made after-sales staff so as to continue to keep them. He challenged automotive journalists to do an independent investigation into the workings of assembly plants in the country, to ascertain what is happening in this area.

Picking holes in the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan, NAIDP which took off in 2013 to revitalise the auto industry, Jaiyesimi noted that the impact has not been felt. He said: “When the National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC came up with the policy, we had it in phases; that is starting with Semi-Knocked Down; SKD1, SKD2 and SKD3. It was expected that after five years, we would have migrated to Completely Knocked Down, CKD. By 2014, we should have been in CKD but we are still in Semi-Knock Down, SKD in 2022.

“Can we even talk of manufacturing tyres today? Tyre manufacturers in Nigeria have migrated to Ghana and I don’t blame them. It is unthinkable that after many years, no headway has been made. Ghana took our auto policy which we gave them and they worked on it.

“They compressed the policy from 72 pages to less than 30 pages and made the best out of it. Today, auto giants like to invest in Ghana instead of Nigeria because of the business- friendly environment there. These foreign firms get information from our local operators.”

The deputy managing director called for more seriousness about assembling vehicles in Nigeria adding that Ghana has advantage now because with the way things are going, it will come to a point whereby the country will produce and bring its auto products down into Nigeria and that will be the end of the Nigeria Auto industry.

Stressing that the auto industry is very symbolic in a lot of countries, he challenged the media to do more in areas of investigative journalism.

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