NIGERIA – Nigeria, through the Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), is working with credible Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the country to launch affordable and durable made-in-Nigeria vehicles soon.

This was disclosed by NADDC’s Director General Mr. Jenalis Aliyu during an interview with the Vanguard at the ongoing Gulf International Technology Exhibition, GITEX 2019 in Dubai, UAE.

He said the idea behind the proposed made-in-Nigerian vehicles is to offer average Nigerians the rare opportunity to drive brand new cars at a cost-effective price instead of being forced to buy used vehicles with little or no pleasure.

He explained that since the implementation of the National Automotive Investment Plan, NAIP, some of the popular OEMs companies like Peugeot and Volkswagen have come back to Nigeria.

 ‘‘Instead of being forced to buy used vehicles, in Investment Promotion, we are working with relevant and very credible OEMs to encourage and support them to come into Nigeria,” said Mr. Aliyu.

 He noted that in the 70s and 80s Nigeria was producing 140,000 vehicles per year, but industry growth was later affected when the price of crude oil crashed in 1986.

Aliyu said that the OEMs will create thousands of direct jobs and tens of thousands of indirect jobs.

‘‘Recently Honda did its 40 years anniversary in Nigeria and last year they introduced HRV Honda which was assembled in Ota, Ogun State,”added Aliyu.

In terms of infrastructure, he said the agency has three locations: Kaduna, Osobo and Nnewi, where they are working with stakeholders to start the construction of automotive industrial parks with all the necessary infrastructure, electricity, water and connectivity.

On standards, the NAIPC boss said the agency is also about setting up a regulatory standard for the Nigerian automotive industry.

 ‘‘We are about 85% completion of the testing centre. In Zaria we will be testing material that will go into automotive production, in Enugu, we will be testing components that will go into vehicles, and in Lagos, we have emission lab that will test emissions,” said Aliyu

He added that by the time these centres become operational, any vehicle or component sold in Nigeria “would have had to be tested, certified and given the approval, or otherwise, it would be illegal to have it in Nigeria.’’

On skill development, Aliyu explained that over 3,200 youths were trained last year,  and more are being trained this year on automotive engineering.

On Funding, he stated that the agency is about solving the challenge by working with a number of banks and have gotten strong support from CBN and the federal ministry of finance which has shown interest through the auto finance scheme.