• Sunday, May 19, 2024
businessday logo


FG’s auto policy is gaining traction – NAC DG


Nigeria is on the match to return the local automobile assembly plants back on track. Only recently Aminu Jalal, director general of the National Automotive Council (NAC), has reiterated federal government’s commitment towards making the nation a choice market for locally assembled vehicles.

One year after introduction of the automotive policy, the director general accompanied by Luqman Mamudu, NAC’s director of policy and planning, was in Lagos where he told the automotive media how far the parastatal have gone in government to realise the aims and objectives of returning the auto assembly plants back.

According to the NAC boss, “The question is, do we continue to import our vehicles or should we take part in manufacturing? Many countries especially the large popular ones who have a market said, they must have an automotive industry. The global auto market is about 120 years old.”

He stated that, except for the pioneers; Germany, France, United States and Unite Kingdom, the others that followed have an automotive policy. The reason is clear, vehicle assembly operations are very highly capital intensive, the margin is very low, it is around 5 perrcent.

Jalal pointed out that, the reason why countries want to go into assembly operations is not just to go into it for the sake of it alone. It includes the component industries that supply parts for component operations that create a lot of jobs, because to assemble a single vehicle, it requires at least 2000 parts. So it requires a supply base.

The other spin-off effect is the technological inputs that are applied in making the vehicle and its accessories. These include the raw materials, aluminum, copper, rubber, plastic, iron and steel and so on. It comes with a lot of value chain and extensive economic linkages that can help in job creation.

All these inherent and sustainable advantages he said accounts for the reason many countries that have the market potential develop the automotive policy and even those countries that don’t have the market take steps to put the policy to be able to feed other producing countries.

Normally these policies are long-term in nature and not just any how policy and many of the emerging automotive producer nations today like Mexico and Brazil started it many years ago in the 1950s and 1960s.

The NAC director general said that the auto policy is a 10-year programme that has many elements attached to it. It includes products safety standards that is up to 104, policy implementation and public sensitization including the establishment of test centres across the country.

The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) expect to see good standards where they can buy these components to carry out assembly operations. This is because other countries with these standards collaborate in recognising one another’s standards to ensure that all their operations comply with all the safety processes and norms of ISO 9001.

Another important aspect had to do with trainings where OEMs conduct trainings for the workers on specialised aspect of vehicle manufacturing. For instance, two of the local assembly plants like Mercedes-ANAMMCO and PAN still continued with trainings even when they had a production break, and they still do that till date to keep them updated with latest production technologies.

“We don’t rely on these two alone. The National Automotive Council also has collaborations with some universities where it has modified the teaching curriculum to accommodate courses on automotive engineering to students and other technicians numbering over 1,000. This is to align with the dictates of latest trends of automobile assembly under the new automotive policy,” The NAC director general said.