In efforts to enable Nigerians buy new cars, the Federal Government in 2013, launched a new financing scheme through its National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP).The plan, which is expected to discourage the importation of vehicles into the country, and encourage local manufacturing of vehicles, is yet to gain momentum, as Nigerians still find it difficult to buy a brand new car assembled locally.
The plan provides for a credit purchase scheme, to ensure that funds are available cheaply, and made available as loans to civil servants, haulage and passenger commercial companies, and the general public that patronise made in Nigeria vehicles.For government’s financing scheme to become a reality, the Chairman, Boulos Enterprises Limited, Robert Ugbaja, said there must be sufficient purchasing power in the economy to enable middle class Nigerians afford new cars.
Ugbaja argued that placing a ban on imported used vehicles, and imposition of punitive tariff cannot be lifeline needed by local automobile manufacturers.He said the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) have so far registered over 50 companies to assemble and ultimately manufacture their brand of vehicles in Nigeria, and noted that less than 50,000 units of new cars were imported into the country in 2017.
Ugbaja spoke at the yearly general meeting of the Motorcycle Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), a sub-sectoral group under the Motor Vehicle and Miscellaneous Assembly Sectoral Group, of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), in Lagos, on Tuesday.He noted that given the number of licensed assemblers and low level of importation of new vehicles, there is certainly a shortage of demand to make investments in local manufacturing of automobiles viable at this point in time.
To build a sustainable automotive industry in Nigeria, he called for a return to the basics, which is motorcycle manufacturing, and build upwards thereafter.
According to him, most major economies with thriving auto industries also have strong and deep-rooted motorcycle manufacturing sector.“They built their automotive industries on solid motorcycle manufacturing foundation, which enabled them to start from the basics in developing assembling and manufacturing skills while taking into account local developmental conditions,” he said.
The Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said the advent of motorcycles assemblers has contributed significantly to the rise in the use of this mode of transportation in Nigeria, with its attendant positive impact on the socio-economic lives of the people.He said the use of tricycles as a mode of transportation has created employment for teeming unemployed youths, especially those who ordinarily would have been engaged in the factories but could not, due to the myriad of challenges confronting the manufacturing sector.
According to him, in recent time, many developing countries, particularly in Africa, have embraced the use of motorcycles and tricycles as a common means of transport especially among low-income urban dwellers and rural populace. Ajayi-Kadir said apart from solving the mobility needs of many urban residents amid poor and inadequate public transport system, motorcycles and tricycles have come with a host of value-additions in the economy. They created business space for motorcycle/tricycles mechanics and motorcycle/tricycles spare parts dealers, as well as local revenue generation sources through taxes/levies, registration and licensing of motorcycle owners/riders.
He said the group has made commendable contributions towards Nigeria’s developmental needs in terms of employment, income generation, and socio-cultural needs of the populace. “The advancement of this sub-Sector is important to us in MAN, as the industry is part of the growth strategy we envisage for the manufacturing sector. This is necessary so that manufacturing can assert its eminent qualification as the engine of growth and development of the Nigerian economy.”He assured MOMAN that MAN is always ready to support government at all levels and other stakeholders in its resolve to surmount the challenges bedeviling the sector for the benefit of industries in particular, and the Nigerian economy in general.
The Chairman, MOMAN, Dr Hezekiah Adedeji, said the sub-sector is capable of generating more wealth for Nigeria through its GDP contribution.He also said the group is in talks with the government to ensure advocacy of the sector, while imploring NADDC to provide standards and inclusion of local manufacturing of motorcycles in the country. Ugbaja had earlier faulted NAIDP’s omission of motorcycle manufacturing in its plan; saying is the foundation on which a sustainable Nigerian automotive industry can thrive.