Nigeria: At Lagos Motor Fair, Stakeholders Chart Path to Automobile Industry Growth

Stakeholders in the automotive sector of the country have decried the attitude of government towards implementing the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) fully.

Besides, they argued that Federal Government's inaction towards the automotive policy is slowing down the desired potentials the sector possess in developing the nation.

Hence, they called for a holistic review of the plan to include to reflect some of the realities and developments its implementation has thrown up, to ensure that it achieves the desired ends.

These were the submission of stakeholders at the 14th Lagos Motor Fair and eight Autoparts Expo Africa and first Nigeria Motorcycle and Tricycle Expo in Lagos on Wednesday who posited that the sector is capable of reducing the country's unemployment rate if proper intentions are geared towards the sector.

Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Jelani Aliyu, while admitting to the review of the policy said the council is working hard to ensure the plan is fully implemented.

He said if the country does not have a policy that is passed into law, the auto policy will not achieve its goals.

Aliyu who was represented by Deputy Director, Information and Public Relations, NADDC, Mrs Susan Bisong-Taiwo, said policy somersault has become a challenge for Nigeria, which cuts across all sectors of the economy.

"There is no way the policy will exempt the auto spare parts sector, which will in turn create employment for many. The council is trying its best to ensure the policy work."

Mrs Bisong-Taiwo who wore a branded Brazilian face cap and T-shirt while delivering her speech expressed optimism that Nigeria in the coming years will produce its own vehicles which will be designed by Nigerians.

Also speaking, President of Automobile Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association, (ASPMDA) Nigeria, Offorkansi Ebubedike, said auto parts expo is a positive development that will shape Nigeria's immediate environment.

Ebubedike who was represented by Secretary, Foreign Trade and Investment Committee, ASPMDA, Leo Okoye, said: "We cannot move to greater heights without the support from government.

The Federal Government through the Ministries of Technology, Trade and Investment or the National Automotive Council should come to our aid to open industrial hubs to take care of auto spare parts manufacturing for export.

"Double taxation, multiple administrative bottlenecks in our seaports, bad road network and high interest rates are the clog on our wheels of progress. Our containers are left unattended to for months accumulating huge demurrages. Government should look into these areas; solve the ailing problems to pave way for our positive contribution in the economy," he said.

He lamented that the relationship of the subsector with China is not cordial or balanced.

"Chinese visitors entering Nigeria found it easy on the grounds that when they purchase their flight tickets, they flew into our borders to get visas at less than $150.00. But on our part, the Chinese Consular deny and frustrate Nigerians in the issuance of travel visas."

The development according to him has made some of its importers to start engaging exporters from Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, who are willing to issue travel visas.

However, he charged Chinese Government to reciprocate the good gestures offered to them by the Nigerian Government relating to the issue.

Earlier in his remarks Chairman, Organizing Committee of the Fair, Ifeanyichukwu Agwu, said this edition is holding despite all odds, to ensure that the automotive sector of Nigerian remains in the front burner of economic discuss in Nigeria.

Agwu who is also the Managing Director BKG Exhibitions Limited, said the expo is informed by its resolve to use the platform to champion the development and thriving of Nigeria's automotive industry to fast-track her socio-economic development.

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