[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f announcement made by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) on Monday is anything to go by, Nigerian Auto makers might have, at last, received a lease of life, as they are to benefit from over $600 million foreign exchange the Central bank of Nigeria released to the nation’s manufacturing companies.
In a statement by the Apex bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor on Monday, Nigerian auto manufacturers are specifically mentioned as one of the industrial sectors penciled down to benefit from the FOREX, which, according to him, is to enable them procure imported kits with which to make automobiles for Nigerian market.
According to Okorafor, the measure by the CBN is in line with its promise to ease foreign exchange pressure on manufacturing and agricultural businesses through forward sales under the new flexible FOREX regime.
“The CBN is committed to ensuring that manufacturers of goods for which Nigeria does not enjoy comparative advantage are able to get letters of credit (LCs) to import the required materials for their businesses,’’ he said.
Others include Toyota Nigeria Limited, makers of Toyota Hiace, Ford Nigeria Limited, makers of Ford brand, Hyundai Nigeria Limited, makers of Hyundai brand, Kia Motors Nigeria, makers of Kia brand, Boulos Enterprises Limited, makers of Suzuki brand, CFAO Nigeria LIMITED and FAW Nigeria Limed, among others.
It would be recalled that since the beginning of President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime, the nation’s auto manufacturers, most of which started operation less than two years ago, have virtually got suffocated as a result of inability to access FOREX required to procure assembly kits. Many, Motoring World gathered have had to sack staff running to thousands, thereby worsening the nation’s unemployment problem.
With the announcement made on Monday by the CBN, auto industry analysts and stakeholders believe that it would go a long way at reawakening the nation’s auto industry, which was already “virtually in a coma.”