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AfCFTA: VON Automobile Boss Highlights Potentials in Nigeria’s Auto Sector, Suggests Affordable Vehicle Production

A board member of the Nigeria Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA), Dr. Harpreet Singh, has proposed manufacturing of affordable models of popular automobile brands in Nigeria.

Dr. Singh, who is also the Managing Director of VON Automobile, a subsidiary of Stallion Group, made the submission at the Intra-African Trade Fair Road Show (IATF 2023) panel session held on Monday at Eko Hotels, Lagos, Nigeria.

Addressing attendees at a panel session titled: “What must Nigeria do to take advantage of the AfCFTA (African Continental Free Trade Agreement)”, Dr. Singh said the move would help the country to reap a full benefit of its AfCFTA membership and results in availability of quality and affordable automobiles for Nigerians.

The VON boss acknowledged the efforts made by the Nigerian government towards implementing the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) and what he described as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s resolute dreams of transforming the country into the celebrated “Detroit of Africa”.

“In a remarkable display of leadership,” he stated, “the Nigerian government has taken decisive action by implementing the National Automotive Industry Development Plan. This innovative strategy aims to revive our beloved industry and captivate the attention of astute investors.

“To achieve this ambitious goal, it is imperative that we actively support the creation of additional car manufacturing plants, following the shining examples set by India, Egypt, and Brazil. These formidable establishments should primarily focus on producing affordable and popular brands, ensuring that remarkable vehicles are accessible to all Nigerians.”

Dr. Singh also called for letting loose the full potential of the nation’s automobile manufacturing capabilities by ramping up exports of the locally manufactured/ assembled product lines, including buses, trailers, semi-trailers, and affordable passenger vehicles.

“By doing so,” he stressed, “we can effectively utilize our production capacity and benefit from economies of scale, catapulting our industry to newfound heights.”

He equally appealed for more incentives to the nation’s pioneering auto industry investors including VON, Peugeot, IVM, Nissan, and Hyundai towards local automobile manufacturing

“By improving our investment climate,” he pointed out, “we can attract foreign investors keen on establishing large assembly and manufacturing plants. This exciting prospect will ensure that we meet the ever-increasing demand for vehicles throughout the African continent.”

Dr. Singh described the upcoming IATF as a remarkable platform dedicated to promoting trade and fostering economic cooperation among African nations.

“It is with great excitement,” he enthused, “that we look ahead to the main event, the AfCFTA marketplace, set to grace the enchanting city of Cairo, Egypt, from the 9th to the 15th of November 2023.”

The pre-IATF Road Show held in Lagos featured seven panelists, including Dr. Harpreet Singn, board member, Nigeria Automotive manufacturers Association; Dr. Sola Obadimu, Director General, NACCIMA; Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, Executive secretary, national Action Committee on AfCFTA-TBC; and Mr. Olawale Tunde fsanya, Director General/CEO, SMEDAN.

Others include:   Dr. Chinyere Almona, Director General, LCCI; Dr. Busolaa Tejumola, Executive Head, Content and West Africa Channels, Multichoice Nigeria and representative of Afreximbank.

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