Nige­ria has enough ve­hi­cle as­sem­bly plants – Ex­pert

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Fran­cis Arinze Iloani

An ex­pert in the au­to­mo­tive industry, Dr. David Valen­tine Obi, has ex­pressed his sup­port for the re­cent sus­pen­sion of is­suance of li­cences for new ve­hi­cle as­sem­bly plants on the ground that Nige­ria has enough of them al­ready.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment had last week an­nounced the sus­pen­sion, ex­cept for di­rect in­vest­ment by orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers.

A state­ment signed by the Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral of the Na­tional Au­to­mo­tive De­sign and De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil (NADDC), Engr. Aminu Jalal, ex­plained the move was to en­able the coun­cil con­sol­i­date the ve­hi­cle as­sem­bly op­er­a­tions and con­cen­trate on de­vel­op­ing lo­cal con­tent.

Jalal stated that the coun­cil’s “ma­jor ob­jec­tive is to bring back com­pletely knocked down (CKD) au­to­mo­tive as­sem­bly and de­velop lo­cal con­tent,” adding that the coun­cil is in­vest­ing over N5bn to es­tab­lish au­to­mo­tive test cen­tres that will en­sure that ve­hi­cles and com­po­nents made in Nige­ria meet in­ter­na­tional safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards.

Dr. Obi, who is the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor/Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (CEO) of DVC Lim­ited, a com­pany that spe­cialises in the manufacturing of au­to­mo­tive chem­i­cals, said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment acted in the in­ter­est of the coun­try’s au­to­mo­tive industry.

In­for­ma­tion from the NADDC in­di­cates that the coun­try cur­rently has 14 ex­ist­ing as­sem­bly plants. They in­clude VON Nige­ria Lim­ited, PAN Nige­ria Lim­ited, In­no­son Ve­hi­cle Manufacturing Nige­ria Lim­ited, ANAMMCO Nige­ria Lim­ited, Ley­land-Bu­san Nige­ria Lim­ited, NTM Nige­ria Lim­ited and Steyr Nige­ria Lim­ited.

NADDC re­vealed that Nis­san, VW, Hyundai, Kia, Honda cars, Honda SUV, Shac­man, MAN trucks and Ashok-Ley­land buses are now as­sem­bled in Nige­ria.

In ad­di­tion, 11 new com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Cen­tury Auto (Toy­ota), TATA, Coscharis Auto (Ford, Joy­long, Dongfeng), Dana Mo­tors (Re­nault), Globe Mo­tors (Higer), Leven­tis (FO­TON-Di­amler) and Ke­wal­ram Chan­rai (GM, Mit­subishi) have been given bona-fide manufacturing sta­tus and are on track to start as­sem­bly op­er­a­tions this year.

Com­ment­ing on the op­er­a­tional sta­tus of th­ese as­sem­bling plants, Dr. Obi, who rep­re­sents auto man­u­fac­tur­ers in the Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (MAN) said some of the as­sem­bly plants have not even started Com­plete Knock Down (CKD) as­sem­bling and “you don’t know whether they are se­ri­ous or not.”

Dr. Obi ar­gued the de­vel­op­ment would lead to the de­vel­op­ment of lo­cal con­tent in terms of vol­ume be­ing pro­duced by the ex­ist­ing li­censed plants.

De­bunk­ing the claim that the move would af­fect the im­port of auto parts into the coun­try, he said, “We are talk­ing about as­sem­bling, not what you im­port.”

He said high im­port duty and tar­iffs can be used to reg­u­late auto prod­ucts im­ported into the coun­try and “if any­one can af­ford the cost, they are free to do the im­ports.”

He said the sus­pen­sion would in­still dis­ci­pline in the au­to­mo­tive industry and en­cour­age small and medium en­ter­prises (SMEs) in auto manufacturing.

In­sist­ing that the move is in line with the Auto Pol­icy, he said, “You know the SMEs who will do the sup­ply are the great­est em­ployer of labour and they con­trib­ute highly to the GDP.”

How­ever, Nige­ria is yet to im­ple­ment the Nige­rian Au­to­mo­tive Pol­icy as sched­uled and this has raised dusts in the auto industry.

The pol­icy, aimed at cur­tail­ing ‘tokumbo’ ve­hi­cles and en­cour­ag­ing lo­cal manufacturing and as­sem­bling of ve­hi­cles, im­posed 35 per­cent levy and duty on im­ported ve­hi­cles.

The com­mence­ment of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pol­icy slated for July 1 this year was shifted af­ter the gen­eral elec­tions, a fourth shift in the date of im­ple­men­ta­tion in a year.

The FG first moved the im­ple­men­ta­tion from July 2014 to Jan­uary 2015, then to April and sub­se­quently to July 1st, a de­vel­op­ment de­scribed as “lack of po­lit­i­cal will to pur­sue longterm in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment” by the Nige­rian Au­to­mo­tive Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

The NADDC blamed the post­pone­ments on the de­lay in the es­tab­lish­ment of a ve­hi­cle fi­nance scheme.

In a swift re­ac­tion pub­lished as ad­ver­to­rial re­cently, the auto man­u­fac­tur­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion coun­tered the pol­icy som­er­sault, in­sist­ing that it was not con­vinced by gov­ern­ment’s state­ment that the scheme was be­ing de­ferred for the pro­posed ve­hi­cle fi­nanc­ing scheme. It at­trib­uted the re­ver­sal to what it deemed lack of will to im­ple­ment the pol­icy.

The man­u­fac­tur­ers feared their in­vest­ments would be at risk as the post­pone­ment would lead to fur­ther flood­ing of the auto mar­ket with used ve­hi­cles from other coun­tries. CFAO Mo­tors Nige­ria Lim­ited has an­nounced the launch of its new Mit­subishi Fuso trucks in Nige­ria.

Speak­ing at the launch in Lagos, Head, Re­gional Cen­tre Africa, CFAO, Mr Ra­jaram Kr­ish­na­murthy, said the in­tro­duc­tion of the new trucks was in line with its com­pany’s quest for in­no­va­tion and qual­ity that would give cus­tomers value for their pa­tron.

Kr­ish­na­murthy said “To­day’s mile­stone rep­re­sents an­other suc­cess­ful launch for Mit­subishi Fuso Truck and Bus Cor­po­ra­tion (MFTBC), one of Asia’s lead­ing com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers, un­der its con­tin­ual growth of­fen­sive in Africa fol­low­ing the re­cent launches in Kenya, Tan­za­nia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zam­bia and Mozam­bique.”

Kr­ish­na­murthy, who said Nige­ria is one of his com­pany’s strate­gic mar­kets in West Africa, dis­closed that CFAO in­tends to sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease the mar­ket share for its Mit­subishi Fuso brand, in close co­op­er­a­tion with its lo­cal dis­trib­u­tor.

Leven­tis ve­hi­cle as­sem­bly

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