‘Full implementation of Nigeria’s auto policy crucial for sector’s growth’
UNLESS the Federal Government wholly implements the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) and gives operators the leeway to function optimally, projected industrial development in the country may remain unattainable.
Already, players have raised the alarm over the reality of the fall in the price of crude oil and other commodities as well as the economic downturn and recent government policies, noting that only complete implementation and sincerity from the government could sustain the growth of the sector.
Manufacturers and distributors of Nissan vehicles in Nigeria, Stallion Motors, in a chat with the media in Lagos warned of impending stagnation in the country’s evolving automotive sector.
According to the organisation, President Muhammadu Buhari led administration must embrace the automotive industry as a catalyst for growth and alternative to oil.
Nissan Nigeria Regional Project Director, Sorin Profir said the organisation, which started production in Nigeria in 2014 had installed capacity for 15, 000 vehicles but could only turn out 3,050 vehicles as of June 2015.
“The automotive industry is a catalyst of growth in most global economies and we can’t continue to depend on oil – reason why we should explore the inherent opportunities in automotive manufacturing.
“On no account should the policy document be allowed to be circumvented or discarded for gratuitous reasons as many stakeholders are already waiting for policy direction to enable them kick-start their operations,” he stressed.
He said government should immediately implement the automobile policy document and restrict gratuitous importation of vehicles that can be locally manufactured while it encourage the establishment of more ancillary industries such as tyre, battery and glass companies to accelerate the inclusion of substantial local contents.
Also commenting on the automotive policy, Stallion Nissan Nigeria Motors Plant Head, Prakash Karat said “the plant hasn’t been stretched to its installed capacity since it began operation in April 2014 but we have produced only 3,050 units of four variants of Nissan vehicles including Nissan Patrol, Almera, NP300 Pick-up trucks and NV350 commuter bus.
He explained that the assembly plant like all other conventional manufacturing concerns was driven by the principle of supply and demand and cannot carry inventory beyond particular level, adding that “we work according to marketing requirement”.
Karat said: “the Nissan vehicle plant has shrunk its work force to 85 from 131 at inception, but such workers could be recalled as soon as the economic downturn improves, he remarked.
He enjoined customers to be assured of the quality and standard of vehicles produced at the Nissan plant which according to him compares to similar products manufactured in overseas plants.
“We are continuing to train and retrain our service technicians in Nissan ever growing technological advancement and we acquaint them extensively in Nissan’s always-changing technology. I am therefore proud to say we have some of the best technicians yet.”
The Nissan plant head, who guided journalists round the facility at the Volkswagen Estate along Lagos-Badagry Expressway said plans are underway to transform Nissan Motors assembly plant from Semi-Knock-Down II to a Complete-Knock-Down tooling plant.
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