It is no longer news that global auto group, Volkswagen has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian government on the production of it’s over 13 automotive brands in Nigeria.
That remarkable deal spearheaded by the National Automotive Design and Development Council, (NADDC) under the leadership of Arch Jelani Aliyu (MFR), and its parents ministry of industry, trade and investments is considered by many here in Berlin and in Nigeria as one of the singular biggest achievements of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to grow and diversify the Nigerian economy away from oil and gas.
Owing to that epoch making agreement between the government, NADDC and the global automakers, the full production of Volkswagen vehicles in Nigeria will soon commence, and that development will permanently establish Nigeria as the automotive hub for the West African sub-region.
Managing Director of Volkswagen Group, South Africa & Head of Volkswagen Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), Mr. Thomas Schaefer, is currently optimistic, insisting Volkswagen and the German government believes that Nigeria has the potential to be the automotive powerhouse in West Africa by just the sheer size of its population.
“We are encouraged by the willingness and commitment of the Nigerian government and the current leadership at NADDC under Jelani Aliyu to introduce policies that are conducive to re-establishing Nigeria’s automotive industry. Political will and vision are the keys to success.”
According to Schaefer, the political will on the part of the government, and the vision on the part of NADDC are the keys to these successes.
It was gathered that in the MoU, Volkswagen has undertaken to implement a phased approach in relation to the assembly of vehicles, with the long term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub. This 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 Nigeria subject to commercial viability”, this newspapers gathered.
The Nigerian government through the NADDC on the other hand, will accelerate the process, including the gradual transition from the importation of used cars to the manufacture and distribution of new passenger vehicles, alongside providing a conducive legislative environment that will encourage the manufacturing of motor vehicles in Nigeria.
The NADDC director general has consistently maintained that the gradual reduction of imported used cars is critical to the success of the Nigerian automotive industry as this will open the market for new cars made in Nigeria.
Availability of consumer financing will be another benefit, Aliyu says, as there will be fast and competitive logistics from harbour to trucking; including efficient administrative processes, particularly involving the Customs, Schaefer added.
To ensure the sustainability of the incoming auto boom in Nigeria, NADDC, the director general said, is already working to launch a new auto finance fund to enable more Nigerians to acquire new cars and corporate/commercial organizations re-fleet their pool with new vehicles.
Massive job creation, marketing programme, standard, human capital development, local content development and carbon emission reduction/elimination are other areas that the NADDC has worked on to ensure the success and sustainability of the expected boom in Nigeria’s automotive sector.
“The development of automotive laboratories as provided for in the plant for safety tests are now at 70 percent completion stage. There is the material test lab in Zaria, the component test lab in Enugu and the emission test lab in Lagos”, it was also gathered.
With all these developments in place, it has become very clear that the current leadership of the NADDC is very set on its objective of making Nigeria the automotive hub, not just for West Africa, but also of the African continent.
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