Stakeholders and players in the nation’s auto industry have been admonished to despair in the face of the challenging times in the sector.

The Chief Executive Officer of BKG, Mr. Ifeanyi Agwu, organiser of the Lagos and Abuja Auto and Spare Parts exhibitions stated this as he announced that the Lagos fair would hold next month despite of all odds.

Agwu, a seasoned player in the sector, said he was going ahead with the exhibition in Lagos from April 28 to May 4, while the spare parts exhibition will hold simultaneously from May 1 to May 4 at Federal Palace Hotel grounds, Victoria Island, Lagos.

According to Agwu, this year’s exhibition would be devoted to the education of stakeholders on new options and approaches to marketing and customer relationship and to brainstorm on the future of the industry. “It is not going to remain like this. There will be new opportunities.”

He said educating the people and government would keep the auto sector alive. “We hope that when the government seats properly then it will be good for all. The auto sector is vital to the economy because it is where economic growth can be easily seen.. It generates revenue to the government and employment to the people. No serious government should ignore it.”

He said the US government focused on the auto sector for bailout when that country’s economy was down, saying the sector was visible and that it was a key artery in the life of the government.

He said, “We will talk to stakeholders on the benefits of the auto sector to the economy and the country.

Agwu called on all stakeholders to be at the fair not to give a false impression that they have given up, adding that exhibiting would show their strength and ruggedness.

“The sector cannot be left to die or fizzle out. If companies don’t bring in vehicles then the economy will grind to a halt since 80 per cent of land transportation is done with vehicles. Government should think deep about the sector and not play with it.”

Agwu also plans to use his spare parts exhibition to introduce and consolidate Nigeria’s role as the hub for auto parts in Africa. He is in touch with auto parts companies and he is looking at getting 23 countries to participate in the May exhibition in Lagos. “We are inviting the auto parts dealers; we are looking at using Nigeria as a hub for auto parts market and we know that people from other African counties will come to Nigeria; we are in touch with all of them.

“We have the support of NACCIMA in inviting businesses from these West and Central African countries. The Nigerian Embassies in these countries are also assisting us in sensitizing them. We are confident that we have the manpower and technical competence to do this. It will be a disservice to Nigeria for any other African country to do it,” Agwu said.