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The Director General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) recently had extensive discussions in Japan to encourage the big auto players expand their portfolio of investments in Nigeria’s burgeoning auto industry.

Aliyu together with the Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, His Excellency, Husaini Moriki, and Chairman House Committee on Industry, Honourable Dr. Enitan Badru, met with key auto manufacturers that included Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mistsubushi, Isuzu, Suzuki and Yamaha at meetings held in the various Japanese cities of Tokyo, Yokohama, Hamamatsu and Iwata during the four days strategic business engagements.

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The discussions focused on achieving bigger investments by these global companies to set up mega production and assembly plants in Nigeria. It was also intended to strengthen the already existing presence of some of the global auto makers in Nigeria as a result of the implementation of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) by the NADDC.

The implementation of the NAIDP has encouraged building vehicles in Nigeria through Honda West Africa, Nissan/Stallion, Toyota/Elizade, Mitsubishi/CFAO, Suzuki/Boulos, Isuzu/Kewalrams and Yamaha/CFAO.

Shopping for more investments and collaborations

But Mr. Aliyu with the team is shopping for more investments and collaborations. He wants a Japanese private sector led partnership that will ensure the local production of higher number of vehicles to meet not only local demands but Nigeria’s pan-Africa export initiative to successfully leverage the opportunities for export of made-in-Nigeria vehicles under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Aliyu, Ambassador Moriki and Honourable Badru inside Mistsubushi

According to Aliyu, the discussions with the companies were very fruitful with strong potential for the various manufacturers to significantly increase their operations and market footprint in Nigeria and contribute at an even higher level to sustainability of the Nigerian automotive industry.

Ambassador Moriki urged the Japanese companies to identify areas of focus that they would like the Nigerian government to intervene in for an even better business environment, especially now that the NAIDP and the auto policy are being reviewed by the NADDC.

He urged the Japanese companies to collaborate with the NADDC in training and upskilling of Nigerian youth at the 18 Automotive Training Centers built by the agency across Nigeria.

Aliyu said the NADDC has engaged international firm, KPMG, to review the auto policy in order to infuse it with more efficiency and benchmark it on best global practice.

The reviewed policy seeks to further boost the financial advantages of local production, establish import duty differential between locally assembled vehicles and those imported fully built, effect tax waivers, create dedicated customs corridors/services, provision of single digit capital financing for both manufacturers and buyers, mandatory government patronage – all geared to encourage local production of vehicles, the NADDC’s boss stressed.

“As soon as the draft policy is done by KPMG, it shall go as an executive bill to the National Assembly. The Senate and House Committees on Industry are giving their full support towards having this reviewed policy be backed by a legal framework,” said Aliyu.

Honourable Badru expressed assurance of legislative support for the auto industry to encourage foreign and protect investors’ interests.

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