By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government in partnership with the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) has commissioned $1 billion (N364 billion) of locally-assembled vehicles.
Through the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, the vehicles were locally produced by 17 companies; Coscharis, Nissan, Innoson, Ford and Elizade Motors among others, which are championing the course of making automobiles in Nigeria.
According to the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, the locally-assembled vehicles would be used at the Argungu Motor Rally which is an integral part of the popular festival held in Kebbi annually, the Argungu Annual International Fishing and Cultural Festival.
Set to be the inaugural edition of the event, the 2020 Argungu Motor Rally will kick off in Kebbi State later this year. The Minister said that rally will become a yearly event that will be a way to support the auto industry.
He said Nigeria was moving forward in the area of automotive assembly, adding that from zero production level in 2012, the industry has recorded tens of thousands of newly assembled vehicles in the country.
Mr Adebayo said with the inauguration of the 10-year Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP 2013-2023) in 2013, about 62 companies have been registered to assemble vehicles.
The minister noted that the companies were registered to assemble vehicles at both Semi Knocked Down (SKD) and Completely Knocked Down (CKD) levels with a combined total installed capacity of 423,790 units.
Mr Adebayo further revealed that an actual assemblage of 10,343 units had been achieved so far, while 31 automotive assembly companies were currently listed under the Bureau of Public Procurement for patronage.
“The vehicles and brands for unveiling are a testament to the zeal and commitment of the automotive industrial subsector to the present government’s efforts towards diversification of the non-oil sector of the economy.
“The role of the NADDC in reviving and sustaining the automotive sector has greatly helped in stimulating growth and development in Nigerian automotive industry,’’ he said.
He, however, urged Nigerians to patronise made-in-Nigeria vehicles to create jobs, build capacity, drive investment, conserve foreign exchange and transfer technology to the citizens.
In a remark, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and investment, Mrs Mariam Katagum, represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Nasir Gwarzo, charged the auto companies to do more in the area of local content.
She said the federal government was commitment to economic diversification, adding that the Argungu Motor Rally showed what the Nigerian automotive industry could offer.
On the part of the NADDC Director-General, Mr Jelani Aliyu, he said so far about one billion dollars had been invested by the auto companies whose cars were being unveiled while 4,700 people were directly employed in the sector.
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