Ten more auto plants have finalised plans to begin operations in Nigeria before the end of this year.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, disclosed this during a meeting with vehicle manufacturers, dealers and licensed Customs agents in Abuja.
He said, “From the stakeholders meetings we have held so far, I must say that we are particularly encouraged by the level of interest and enthusiasm being shown towards the new automotive policy by Nigerians and also by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
“The bottom line is that everyone is saying that so far, we have exceeded our expectations. If anyone had told us that about 22 OEMS would sign into the new auto policy in less than one year of its implementation, we might not have believed it. Currently, we have about four of them that are assembling vehicles in Nigeria. We are expecting another 10 OEMs to start assembling cars in the country before the end of this year.”
“Since the commencement of the implementation of the policy in July 2014, we have been meeting with all the stakeholders in the auto industry. This is to ensure that we carry everyone along so that we can fast-track the implementation of the policy and achieve the overall objectives of the policy in terms of job creation, industrialisation, local content development and reduction of pressure on our foreign exchange due to massive importation of vehicles into the country.
“Together with the major players in the sector, we have discussed and agreed on ways of accelerating the local production of automotive component parts on a product by product basis. Also, we have focused on how to establish an affordable vehicle financing scheme as quickly as possible.
”In this regard, we have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with WestBank, (the bank that finances one out of every three cars produced in South Africa) to finance the purchase of new cars for Nigerians at a very low interest rate. The bank will commence operation very soon. The whole idea is to make finance available for Nigerians who are buying new cars assembled in Nigeria, with an option to pay back within a period of four to five years,” he said.