Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Govt - 25,000 'Made in Nigeria' Vehicles Ready This Year

Nigeria auto manufacturing companies will produce 25,000 vehicles by the end of this year, while the new tariff regime for the automotive industry will take effect from July 1.

Director General of the National Automotive Council (NAC) Aminu Jalal disclosed this at a media roundtable in Abuja yesterday.

Jalal said: "Manufacturers plan to produce 25,000 made in Nigeria vehicles by the end of 2014 and they will be given the concession to import two vehicles for every one produced to fill the gap that is likely to be created by the policy on the short run.

"We have over 15 companies that are ready to commence the production of 'made in Nigeria cars'. We are also collaborating with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on technical and quality audit that will ensure that what is produced in Nigeria is comparable to global best standards."

The federal government launched the National Automotive Policy in October 2013 to ensure the survival, growth and development of the Nigerian automotive industry using local human and material resources. This, according to the government, will enhance the industry's contribution to the national economy in the areas of employment generation, technology acquisition, effective utilisation of local raw materials and resources and in the transportation of people and goods.

Jalal said: "We are discussing with Real Merchant Bank of South Africa to develop and introduce their successful prototype of affordable vehicle purchasing scheme at 10 percent interest rate spread over a period of four years with a new vehicle to cost around N1.7 million."

He said NAC has also set aside some funds through a microfinance bank to advance soft loans to auto mechanics to enable them purchase modern working tools required for today's auto service.

"At the high end, we have designed a syllabus with the National Universities Commission for the study of automotive engineering in our universities which has been available to 15 universities in Nigeria with three of them already available for study," he added.

The DG also said that NAC has advanced a total of 11 billion to about 36 local content companies that are expected to feed the major auto centres. The local content funded includes chemicals, batteries, rubber plantation, brake pads, tire re-threading among others.

According to Jalal: "Nigeria expended $4 billion in 2010 and $3.45 billion in 2012 for the importation of cars. The importation of spare parts and tyres are the largest users of our foreign exchange while another one billion dollars is expended for five million locally consumed tyres in Nigeria.

"We are also working with the Federal Road Safety Commission and the Nigeria Customs to combat smuggling of second hand vehicles so as to allow the policy to succeed."

While speaking on the need to take care of the menace of accidented and abandoned vehicles, Jalal said: "We are also working with a Japanese company through the Japanese Development Agency to set up three pilot centres in three cities across the federation. They will recycle old and accidented vehicles from our environment."

He lamented the non-existence of a law that takes care of accidented vehicles hence the visible presence of abandoned vehicles adorning our environment. He hinted that NAC is developing a draft recycling law for the automobile industry.

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