Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The federal government has held discussions with 20 investors and consultants from some of the leading global car makers in a bid to give the Nigerian automotive sector a boost.
Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo hosted the automotive industry stakeholders from Volkswagen, Nissan, Bosch, BMW and Uber and representatives from Standard Bank of Africa, International Finance Corporation, Graffitti, Deloitte, Actis.
The vice president and the Minister of Trade and Investment Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, engaged the investors recently on the federal governmentâ€™s economic priorities.
A statement by the Strategy and Communications Adviser to Minister Trade and Investment, Bisi Daniels, said the investors visited Abuja, Lagos and Edo State to gain insight of business opportunities and investment environment in the Nigerian automotive sector.
They will also assist in the shaping of national policy to support industry overall and domesticated manufacturing for the automotive sector.
At separate meetings, Osinbajo and Enelamah, discussed economic priorities with the investors and gave assurance of federal governmentâ€™s the political will to implement the auto policy.
â€œThere have been some difficulties with the implementation approach, but this is the time we have considerable political will. If we can get the individual components right, we should be able to fly with this policy,â€ Osinbajo said.
Enelamah described the visit of the car industry investors as an encouraging expression of confidence in the leadership of the country and its spirited efforts to exploit the socio-economic potentials of the automotive sector in the country to the fullest for the benefit of all Nigerians.
â€œWe are excited by the role the automotive industry plays in the strategic and catalytic economic development of countries and we are committed to developing the sector speedily to facilitate the economic diversification of the country,â€ Enelamah said.
Thomas Schaefer, who led the delegation and doubles as the Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, said that their business intention in Nigeria was to domesticate aspects of their manufacturing and supply value chain.
â€œThe 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,â€ Schaefer, said.
He also asked Nigeria to pass its new automotive policy into law, saying it has the potential to activate investments and unlock the growth of Africaâ€™s automotive sector.
It will be recalled that in 2016, the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM), held meetings with the Economic Management Team (EMT) and President Muhammadu Buhari in a bid to contribute to the development of viable automotive assembly sectors within key African economies.