The Federal Government has announced that it would encourage local car manufacturers to produce less expensive models with price ranging between N1.2m and N1.5m. This position however negates the position of majority of stakeholders who believe that the new government automotive policy is hasty, ill-conceived, harsh on Nigerians and unrealistic.
The announcement which is targeted at ensuring the successful implementation of its recently approved National Automotive Industry Development Plan, would also see the Federal Government collaborate with auto manufacturers, franchise holders, reputable motor dealers and selected banks to put in place an all-inclusive domestic dealership network through which a user-friendly vehicle purchase scheme could be funded by the National Automotive Council.
The Federal Government’s stance was made known in an official statement released over the weekend. The statement in part read thus, “Under market development, the NAIDP anticipated that higher-end expensive models will still be imported into the country in the initial stage, but the new strategy is to encourage local auto manufacturers to focus primarily on lower-end less expensive models with price range of between N1.2m and N1.5m; which is affordable to the middle class, coupled with other finance options.”
The statement added that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, had constituted two committees to ensure seamless implementation of the recently approved automotive plan.
The first is the Automotive Industry Policy Implementation and Monitoring Committee, with members drawn from broad-based industry stakeholders, including the Nigerian Automotive Manufacturers/Assemblers Association and the Automobile Local Content Manufacturers Association.
Others are the Automobile Franchise Holders (Mercedez Benz, Kia, Suzuki, CFAO, Toyota, Volvo, Globe Motors, Dana, Balyn Motors, Metropolitan Motors), Used Vehicle Dealers Association, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Original Equipment Manufacturers.
The second body is the Inter Agency Implementation Committee made up of representatives of relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including the Federal ministries of Power, Solid Minerals and Federal Ministry of Finance, Office of the National Security Adviser, Bank of Industry, Nigerian Ports Authority, and Raw Materials Research and Development Council, among others.
, said in the statement that under the NAIDP skills development, there would be extensive local and international manpower development programmes aimed at ensuring that, over the next four to six years, skilled positions in all auto industries in the country were occupied by Nigerians.
To ensure that the cars produced are of good quality, the statement said NAC was currently building automotive component test centres and laboratories to conduct vehicle homologation and other comprehensive tests of parts and components that would enhance overall product quality.
The statement said, “Under investment promotion, fiscal measures and patronage strategies are being introduced to create enabling environment, allowing existing assembly plants to flourish, while attracting new core investors like Nissan, Renault, GM and Toyota; which had expressed interest, to establish plants in Nigeria.
The problem is, if the Minister has reportedly made this wide-ranging, all-inclusive arrangement, how come key stake holders and the general public have been up in arms against the thrust of the new policy?