The Managing Director of Kia Nigeria, Jacky Hathiramani has applauded Buhari-led federal government for appointing Mr. Aliyu Jelani as the new Director-General of National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC).
In a statement released on Friday, Mr. Hathiramani described Jelani’s appointment as an indication that President Buhari’s regime is on the path of developing the nation’s automobile industry, making Nigeria the industrial hub for auto manufacturing in Africa.
“His appointment,” the statement reads, “has reinstated the confidence of the stakeholders that the government is on the path of developing the automobile industry and making the country the industrial hub for car manufacturing in Africa.
“The outstanding resume of Mr. Jelani points to the fact that the federal government is committed towards the development of automotive manufacturing in Nigeria.
“With Mr. Jelani’s international experience, we are confident that he will charge the council to fully realize its objectives of providing a policy framework that will set the industry on the path of development and help it contribute its quota towards the industrialization of Nigeria.”
According to Hathiramani, the auto policy has reeled in some appreciable gains, bringing to the fore local production of automobiles in the country, as many new car sold in Nigeria today are locally assembled.
“Consequently,” he said, “we need to further strengthen the policy by reviewing it to meet the current realities and position the locally produced cars as one of Nigeria’s best export to sub-Sahara Africa
“With a number of assembly plants in Nigeria today, the production capacity of these plants are over 380,000 units per annum. This is primarily the gains from the auto policy. However, the recent news emerging from the automobile companies are pointing to the fact that the manufacturing plants’ capacity is underutilized as a result of the record low sales of cars in the last one year.
The Kia boss posited that for the industry to be rid of substandard cars and contribute immensely to the GDP of the country, the influx of imported used cars should be controlled. On the point raised by customers that their interest in used cars is premised on the cost of new cars, Jacky charged the new DG to facilitate take-off of auto finance in the country.
On the local content utilization in the production of cars, Jacky espoused that the manufacturing of automobile is centered on many ancillary companies that produce some of the parts for the cars like batteries, leather/fabric for car seats, bolts and nuts, among others.
“Thus,” he pointed out, “the establishments of these ancillary companies are directly proportional to the market volume and the demand for new cars can increase when there are affordable finance schemes and a reduction in the importation of used cars.
“When affordable new cars are accessible to Nigerians, the local production will grow and have a direct impact on the setting up of ancillary manufacturers. This will, in turn, provide large-scale employment, increase the internally generated revenue for the government, and help in diversifying the economy among other gains.”