By Bennett Oghifo
Despite Nigeriaâ€™s inability to produce fuel-powered cars to meet the needs of its domestic market and the shortfall in the countryâ€™s electricity supply, the National Automotive Design and Development CouncilÂ Â (NADDC) has indicated that it is strategising and developing an electric car policy to prepare the nation for the production and use of electric vehicles.
A statement issued yesterday by Jelani Aliyu, the Director General of NADDC said the council was working on developing the policy to support the adoption and use of electric cars in the country.
â€œNADDC is working on strategising and developing an electrified vehicle policy to support the adoption and use of electric vehicles in Nigeria because we must position ourselves to be at the forefront of viable new automotive technology,â€ Aliyu said.
â€œInputs from relevant stakeholders are being collated before the final document is submitted for governmentâ€™s approval.â€
He said the NADDC was also actively working with global automobile manufacturers â€“ BMW, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen â€“ towards setting up operations to produce brand new cars locally and employ thousands of Nigerian.
â€œNADDC is strongly supporting local automotive producers. Honda, Ford, Nissan, Fuso and Yutong are already producing vehicles in Nigeria. Innoson is producing its own vehicles in Nnewi. Peugeot in Kaduna has introduced new models that it produces,â€ he said.
NADDC, he noted, was in the process of building three test centres in Lagos, Enugu and Zaria to make sure that the cars and components produced, sold and used in the country are of world standard.
NADDC said it was also working on building automotive supplier parks in Nnewi, Kaduna and Oshogbo that would focus on automotive componentsâ€™ production.
In this regard, the council said it was engaging the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers of South Africa, which supply the big global automotive companies to support the parks as part of a body of other international technical partners.
Local capacity building is also being addressed, as Aliyu pointed out that NADDC has donated mechatronics equipment to tertiary institutions such as Lagos State Polytechnic, Federal Polytechnic Kaduna and Federal Science and Technical College Orozo, among others.
â€œMore are in the immediate pipeline such as ATBU Bauchi and the University of Ibadan. Their equipment has been purchased by the NADDC and itâ€™s now in the country and will soon be deployed to empower their students.â€
He recalled that the NADDC had structured the National Automotive Industrial Development Plan while the National Assembly passed it as a legislation, in full support of local automotive manufacturing.
To ensure easy purchase of these vehicles, he said: â€œNADDC is also actively working with the relevant stakeholders to provide vehicle financing schemes so that Nigerians will not have to put down 100% cash when buying new cars.â€
Aliyu said he was desirous of a country where new cars are accessible to all Nigerians
â€œNot a Nigeria of a few highly expensive cars and then millions of cheap very old ones, but a Nigeria of millions of modern new cars and then more of the current high-end ones,â€ he said.