Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Five years after it was relaunched, the National Automotive Policy has yielded positive outlook with some of the licenced assembly plants becoming operational and attracting foreign investors.
A statement by the Strategy and Communications Adviser to Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Bisi Daniels, said the policy had resulted in 29 out of the 54 licensed assembly plants coming on stream as at February, 2018.
He also disclosed that a total installed capacity of 419,190 units and a total actual production of 8,628 units had been achieved under the automotive policy.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said before the introduction of the policy, three out of the five assembly plants established in the 1970s had become moribund.
It said the objective of the policy was to bring back Completely-Knocked-Down (CKD) automotive assembly and develop local content, thereby turning Nigeria into a vehicle manufacturing country.
In addition, the policy is expected to create employment, acquire technology and reduce the pressure on the countryâ€™s balance of payment.
â€œThe achievements made so far confirm the high potentials of the policy to grow the automotive sector,â€ Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Okey Enelamah, said.
Over 14 existing assembly plants including Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited (PAN), Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Co. (IVM), Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company (ANAMMCO) and Leyland-Busan have started assembling new products since 2014.
Also, Dangote Sinotruk West Africa LTD, a Joint Venture with total investment of $100 million for truck assembly plans to assemble and produce full range of commercial vehicles covering heavy duty truck, medium truck, light truck and semi-trailers, among others.
It aims to meet an expected current demand of these segments of automobiles required for logistics, construction, food and beverage industries in Nigeria as the government focuses on boosting economic development across the country.
Dangote Sinotruk has an installed capacity to assemble and produce 10,000 trucks annually and will create 3000 jobs across Nigeria.
The effect of the revival in production has also impacted ANAMMCO which has recalled 200 workers it laid off when it downsized its production staff from 2011 due to the unfavourable conditions.
The company is currently waxing stronger and has received several proposals from Original Equipment Manufacturers interested in establishing local assembly presence.
The automotive policy has also generated interest outside the country.
Recently, a delegation of international automotive investors, which comprises original equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders visited the country.
The delegation sought to gain insight into the business opportunities and investment environment in the Nigerian automotive sector and assist in the shaping of national and state policy to support industry overall and domesticated manufacturing for the automotive sector.