New Auto policy: Nigerian government commences inspection of local assembly plants

Segun Aganga
Minister of Trade and Investment, Segun Aganga.

More auto companies are taking advantage of the new policy

With its new Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan now in force, the Federal Government on Friday began inspection of local automotive assembly plants across the country, as more foreign car firms target Nigeria for new plants.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said during his visit to Peugeot Automotive Nigeria, PAN, car assembly plant in Kaduna that more local and international investors were taking advantage of the huge opportunities provided by the new policy to invest in Nigeria.

The minister said he was encouraged by the facilities at PAN’s assembly plant in Kaduna, reputed to be the biggest in West Africa, as it was an indication that government was not starting from the scratch to encourage automobile companies establish and assemble their cars in Nigeria.

He noted the absence of a comprehensive auto policy to take care of the automotive value chain as one of the reasons PAN’s plant went under, pointing out that he believed the new policy would help restore the plant, which used to employ about 4,000 Nigerians before its closure.

He said there was encouragement with the announcement of plans by some reputable Original Equipment Manufacturers, OEMs to establish their assembly plants in Nigeria.

“Nissan has said it is coming to Nigeria, and that its first car will be produced in the country by April. They have already sent their technical team and are working with their local partners in Nigeria. Hyundai is also coming to assembly its vehicles in Nigeria and has already sent its SDKs into the country.

“Innoson has already signed an agreement with two Chinese Companies to expand its existing automobile assembly plant. These show that we have made remarkable progress just within a period of four months since the policy was approved and announced,” the minister said.

Mr. Aganga, who restated the commitment of the Federal Government to the full implementation of the auto policy, said government would continue to provide an enabling environment and level playing field for all stakeholders in the auto industry.

He said the positive response from local and international investors who have already signified their interest to leverage the opportunities provided by the new policy has convinced government that it was on the right path.

Noting that it took several years for some automobile manufacturing countries, like South Africa, to attract the level of attention and interest Nigeria is getting today, saying rather go to each of the OEMs to convince them to come, like South Africa did, they are lining up to come to Nigeria.

He said since the policy was approved by the Executive Council of the Federation, FEC, about four months ago, almost every OEM is excited about it, because they believe it was one of the most comprehensive policies government has in place.

The minister, who said OEMs now see Nigeria as the place they have to be because the opportunities are here, noted that government was ready to work with them to ensure that the policy was well implemented for the overall benefit of the Nigerian people and the country’s economy.

The Managing Director, PAN Limited, Ibrahim Boyi, said the full implementation of the new auto policy would revolutionize the growth and development of the nation’s industrial sector.

He said in the past, the plant used to produce over 90, 000 cars annually, which was more than the national requirement for new vehicles in Nigeria.

Local content, he noted, was about 40 per cent from about 70 local component manufacturers, with some of them in Kaduna, while the rest were in Enugu, Owerri and Lagos.

Mr. Boyi said he believed if the new auto policy was fully implemented, it would bring back the glory of the good old years in automotive assembly in Nigeria.

“With the new auto policy, I believe that our world class assembly plant, with all the facilities, skilled manpower and expertise, is still in a position to replicate the kind of feat PAN was used to in Nigeria,” he said.

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