James Emejo in Abuja
In a landmark development that will revive the automotive industry, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Volkswagen Group to develop a joint vision for an automotive hub in the country.
Volkswagen Head of the Sub-Saharan Region, Thomas Schaefer, signed the agreement on behalf of the group over the weekend, it was gathered.
The deal required the German company to undertake the implementation of a phased approach in relation to the assembly of vehicles, initially from assembly kits with the long-term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub in West Africa.
This, accordingly, will include establishing a training academy in conjunction with the German Government, which will train the initial employees. The academy will also provide broader technical training in automotive skills. It is also intended that a comprehensive Volkswagen vehicle and service network is developed in the country subject to commercial viability.
According to a statement issued by the minister’s Strategy and Communications Adviser, Mr. Bisi Daniels, the MoU includes establishing a training academy in conjunction with the German Government, which will train the initial employees.
The Nigerian Government on its part is committed to finalising the approval of the Nigerian Automotive Policy currently under consideration, including the gradual transition from the importation of used cars to the manufacture and distribution of new passenger vehicles.
It’s further committed to providing a conducive legislative environment that will encourage the manufacturing of motor vehicles in the country.
Commenting on the deal, Enalemah said: “The MoU is a major step in our journey towards the development of a robust automotive industry to achieve its potential contribution to the continuous economic development of the country.
“We believe in the strategic and catalytic role of the automotive industry in the diversification of the Nigerian economy, and we remain committed to encouraging and partnering relevant stakeholders, especially investors and friends of Nigeria.
”We will meet our commitments and look forward to welcoming other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) interested in working with us to increase local production, local procurement, and exports.”