…As Osinbajo Makes Case for Vehicle Financing
Stakeholders of African Auto industry have once again advised President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law the nation’s Auto Industry Development Bill passed by the National Assembly over six months ago.
A delegation of International Automotive Investors comprising Original Equipment Manufacturers and other stakeholders gave the advice at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director, Volkswagen, who led the group, signing the bill to law in Nigeria would advance the growth of Automotive sector in Africa.
The International Auto Industry paid a visit to Nigeria early this week to advance discussions on developing the African automotive industry by adopting an African approach.
According to him, “the plan is to have short, medium and long-term approaches that target growth in the manufacture of cars in Nigeria, similar to the over 60,000 cars produced per annum in South Africa.”
Recognizing Nigeria as an important segment of the African automotive sector, Schaefer said the investors are also pushing for the passage, into law, of Nigeria’s new automotive policy capable of advancing the growth of Africa’s automotive sector.
Responding, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), who received the delegation, called on the stakeholders to rather pay more attention to vehicle financing, because according to him, it is impossible to have a successful automotive sector without a robust vehicle financing regime.
He said: “I think that is an area where we really need to focus our attention on.It is the most critical component that the implementation of the new policy will look at. And am sure that both the Ministry of Finance and others will be keen in discussing with the group on how this can be addressed.
“This is the conversation that has always been back and forth but I think we should be able to get it right this time.”
The Vice President added that stakeholders need to form formidable working groups that would deliberate and come up with a seamless implementation approach that would address challenges in critical components of the automotive sector.
“The approach I will want to recommend is similar to the Focus Lab that was set up to drive investments in the economy,” Oshinbajo said.
“You should also have a very strong presence of the critical government officials and private sector people in a group and one important area of note is the issue of ‘Vehicle Financing’ because somehow this is not just managed in a way to achieve success.”
He further expressed the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to the realistic advancement of Nigeria’s automotive industry as it has demonstrated considerable political will towards the implementation of a new automotive policy.
He said, “I don’t need to emphasize that there has been a lot of back and forth on this auto policy in the past. There have been some difficulties with the implementation approach, but this is the time, we have the considerable political will. I think that if we get the individual components right, we should be able to fly with this policy.”
The Vice President added that the successful implementation of a new policy would put to rest issues around the importation of used cars and the argument that new cars not readily available to Nigerians.
On capacity building, Prof. Osinbajo urged stakeholders to ensure that more should be done to achieve the kind of results that the country desires, in the implementation of the new auto policy.
He said: “this is an area where a lot has been done in terms of building capacity for the local industry, but the new policy must touch more on it too.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah said the team is in the country to continue discussions on how to advance Nigeria’s automotive sector.
The Minister said the delegation had held different levels of discussions with stakeholders in the local industry and relevant government agencies with the view to driving investments in the sector in Nigeria.
Also present at the meeting were The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and the Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council(NADDC), Mr Jelani Aliyu.