This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Jonathan Restates Commitment to Auto Industry Devt

President Goodluck Jonathan Thursay in Davos, Switzerland, disclosed that his administration was poised to rapidly develop Nigeria's automobile industry.

He said it would be achieved through the diligent implementation of the new National Automotive Policy (NAP). Also, Nissan Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Carlos Ghosn, said 4x4 SUV would be rolled out in April.

Jonathan. who spoke at a meeting with Ghosn and the representatives of Nissan's partners in Nigeria on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF), said the key objective of the new policy was to make new cars affordable to more Nigerians.

"The only way to reduce the preponderance of second hand cars on our roads is to produce good quality cars with affordable pricing locally," the president said.

While welcoming the Nissan group's investment in vehicle production in Nigeria, Jonathan equally noted that all investors in local automobile production in the country would have a huge ready market for their products. "The automobile industry in Nigeria has a huge potential for growth. The market is not just Nigeria, but the entire West African region," Jonathan stressed.

On his part, Ghosn commended the federal government's new automotive policy. He said the policy, would in no small measure encourage the inflow of investments and technical expertise to boost domestic vehicle production.

The Nissan CEO told Jonathan that Nissan Motors had completed plans to roll-out the first made in Nigeria 4x4 SUV in April this year, using the old Volkswagen Assembly plant owned by its partners.

Ghosn, who said it was possible to produce two to three million cars in Nigeria annually with the consequent creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, hinted the president that Nissan intended increasing its investment in Nigeria and establish its own vehicle production plants in the country.

"We are interested in producing popular cars, totally adapted to the needs of Nigerians," he said. According to him, the company had put machinery in motion to bring its global suppliers to make vehicle components in the country.

Jonathan also met with President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, who assured him of his personal participation in the WEF on Africa scheduled to take place in Abuja, in May this year.

The president, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, later received the Mayor of Atlanta in the United States of America, Mr. Kasim Reed and Mr. Claude Dauphin, the President of Trafigura, a leading international commodities trading and logistics company.

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