German auto manufacturing company, Volkswagen, has expressed interest to make a return to the Nigerian automotive manufacturing industry after its exit in the mid-1980s, following economic downturn.
Director General of National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, Jelani Aliyu, who disclosed this at a media parley with journalists, in Abuja, said Toyota and several auto manufacturing companies are also interested in siting manufacturing plants in Nigeria.
Aliyu said a top executive of Volkswagen, recently met with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otumba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of State, Amb. Mariam Katagum, as well as himself to show Volkswagen’s commitment to come back into Nigeria.
“They had fruitful discussion with the minister and minister of state, and went round to have a feel of the automotive industry in Nigeria. So, they discussed, not just with government officials, but also with those on the ground, who sell vehicles to understand what type of vehicles are more popular or applicable to Nigeria. This shows the commitment of Volkswagen.
“We also had the opportunity to go to Japan and met with all the major automotive manufacturers; we met with Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Kawasaki, Suzuki; and all these companies are really interested in expanding their footprint in Nigeria; some of them already have facilities in the country, working with third party Nigerian companies.
“We had a very good discussion with Toyota and just like Volkswagen, Toyota is looking at coming in much bigger in Nigeria. All these companies, their most important priority is to have this bill signed. They have taken a look at it and are very happy with the draft so we believe that by time it is assented to by Mr. President they will coming into Nigeria and continue to add value,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria’s automotive industry has capacity to produce up to 400,000 vehicles per year, adding that discussions have been held with vehicle manufacturing companies that are in Nigeria and those that are coming, not only to produce vehicles but the components that produce those vehicles.
“As Nigeria continues to be a very important player in the global automotive market, it is very important too that we go into component production. Now, there are some components already being produced in Nigeria but we need more,” he said.
Speaking further, the NADDC boss noted that over N500 billion has already been invested in the industry in Nigeria.
He also disclosed that NADDC would soon unveil an ambulance vehicle designed by the council for health and emergency services in difficult terrains such as rural areas.
“We have a team from Zaria, consultants and we are evaluating going through the suspension system to make sure that it is capable enough.
“We are doing a lot of this digitally and we intend to build a fully functioned prototype. We believe that Nigeria has developed and nobody must be left behind.
He noted that the ambulance will be equipped with telemedicine and inter-connectivity adding that NADDC is also working with the ultimate Nigerian vehicle that will be affordable.
Aliyu also disclosed that KPMG, an international consultant, has embarked on the review of the NAIDP to make it more applicable to global development.
“That reviewed policy that everybody has been waiting for; stakeholders in Nigeria have been waiting for it, major stakeholders from outside Nigeria are also waiting for it; Volkswagen most especially and Toyota are very eager to have this passed.
“We have had stakeholders within Nigeria review the policy; we have had stakeholders outside Nigeria review the policy. Even those that are foreign say that this is actually the best automotive policy that they have seen for Africa. We hope that very soon the Minister, Niyi Adebayo, will present the reviewed NAID policy to both the National Economic Council and the Federal Executive Council,” he said.