By Moses Akaigwe 08072100049
The Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP), also known as the automotive policy, has been described as the best thing to happen to the vehicle manufacturing sector of Nigeria’s economy since the early auto assembly plants were set up decades ago.
This was the position of the umbrella body of automakers, Nigerian Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA), while reacting to the claim by the director-general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Muda Yusuf, that the increase in the price of imported vehicles should be blamed on the auto policy.
In a statement issued in Lagos on at the weekend, NAMA explained that the NAIDP was introduced to reawaken moribund assembly plants that were once operating at high capacity, in addition to encouraging major vehicle importers to attract their (foreign) original equipment manufacturers to produce same in Nigeria.
Signed by the executive director of NAMA, Mr. Remi Olaofe, the statement argued that a simple market survey would confirm that, as a direct consequence of the NAIDP, the price of locally-assembled vehicles are far lower than alleged by the LCCI DG.
The statement said, “We were taken aback that a macro issue of the magnitude of prices of imported vehicles could be so narrowed to a single parameter like the National Auto Policy by a respected LCCI.
“In coming up with the National Auto Policy, a number of issues were put into consideration, with the pivot being to redirect the Nigerian economy from an import-dependent economy to a producing economy.
“One of the greatest challenges facing the Nigerian economy has always been narrowed down to its over-dependence on foreign goods with the attendant pressure on its foreign reserve and the exchange rate.”
Olaofe reminded critics that, all over the world, initiatives like the NAIDP are backed with incentives and disincentives to local assemblers and importers, respectively, which could come in the form of variation of duties, tax holidays, and access to funds at cheaper interest rates, in favour of the former.
The statement argued that such incentives are not new in the Nigerian economy, citing precedent with the textile, furniture and food sub-sectors, among others, where policymakers went to the extent of placing some items of import on the “Not-Valid-For-Foreign-Exchange List,” in order to protect local manufacturers.
The Nigerian auto assemblers further stated that, “While appreciating the recommendations later made by the DG towards the full realisation of the genuine intents of the policy, we are strongly opposed to the overblown implication of the initiative on prices of vehicles as he enthused. This can only be taken as a biased position against the assembly plants, which is most unfortunate.
“The DG cannot rely on prices of auto importers without any local presence or value added, to discredit the policy. It is actually the intention of the policy to discourage wholesome imports of automobiles at the expense of local industrial activities, as well as growth and development of local component manufacturers.
“We would, therefore, invite the DG to look at the multiplier-effect of getting our auto assembly plants off the ground in terms of the number of OEMs that will commence intensive manufacturing in Nigeria.
the ultimate crash in prices of the now Nigerian-assembled vehicles, the job opportunities to be created at various strata of the industry down to the creation of a perfect and well controlled market for fairly used Nigerian vehicles and the reduced pressure on our foreign exchange, among others”.
Brewery, FRSC begin 2017 ‘ember months’ safety campaign
By Nitzak Nwadigwe
Guinness Nigeria Plc, in partnership with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), has launched the annual “ember months” Responsible Drinking Awareness campaign.
The 2017 programme, which formally commenced on Wednesday last week in Lagos, aims at curbing recklessness on the road during the last quarter of the year through to the Christmas/New Year festive season.
Held at the company’s brewery in Ogba, Ikeja, the ceremony was attended by the FRSC’s corps public education officer, Corps Commander Bisi Kazeem, who represented the Corps Marshal; Lagos Sector Commander, Mr. Hyginus Omeje; some members of the corps, and the motoring press.
In his remarks during kick-off, Guinness managing director/CEO, Mr. Peter Ndegwa, disclosed that this year’s ca
mpaign would, for the first time, feature structured training for new driver’s licence applicants and fleet drivers across the country.
He stressed that the company’s commitment to responsible drinking and enlightening the public about the value of responsible alcohol consumption remained unwavering.
Ndegwa, therefore, appealed to alcoholic beverage consumers, motorists and the general public to desist from mixing alcoholic consumption with driving.
“At Guinness Nigeria, we are passionately committed to responsible drinking. We intend to continue to sensitise the general public all year round through different platforms and programmes on the dangers of drink-driving,” Ndegwa said.
Corporate relations director, Guinness Nigeria, Mrs. Viola Graham-Douglas, who also addressed the audience, said: “The partnership with FRSC on the Responsible Drinking Initiative has done well to impact motorists and commercial drivers positively since it commenced.”
According to Graham-Douglas, Guinness was proud to be part of the campaign, underlining its commitment to the wellbeing of Nigerians and its consumers: “Guinness has consistently advised that motorists should not drive under the influence of alcohol as this may negatively influence the driver, as well as endanger passengers and other road users.”
On his part, Omeje lauded Guinness’s commitment to corporate social investment, especially in the areas of health and road safety. He appealed to other organisations to emulate the brewing company.
“Guinness and FRSC have forged a strong partnership designed to keep our roads safe. The major thrust of our partnership is to advise the motoring public on the need to ensure safe driving especially during the ’ember months. The basic requirements are for motorists to obey traffic laws, avoid overloading and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol,” Omeje said.
Activities for this year’s campaign include road shows, radio talk shows and, for the first time, a training programme for different categories of drivers.
Oldang solar-powered tricycles launched in Lagos
By Simeon Mpamugoh
Stakeholders in the transport sector gathered recently in Lagos for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the sales and assembly of solar- and electric-powered tricycles in Nigeria.
The signing of the agreement between Oldang International Nigeria Limited and Hornson Development Partners, China, at the Lekki Conservative Centre, was witnessed by members of the Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN) and Amalgamation of Commercial Motorcycles Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN).
Also launched at the event was a green transport system, which would herald the use of solar-powered automobiles in the movement of passengers, goods and services in the country.
Briefing journalists, Managing Director, Oldang International Limited, Mr. Olubunmi Oluwadare, stated that over dependence on fossil fuel in the cities has led to high carbon emission
, which he blamed for ozone layer depletion and climate change.
Oluwadare explained reason why his company got involved in solar electric vehicles, explaining that apart from the sunny weather in Nigeria which is very good for green energy, the venture is in line with the United Nations’ goals on replacing carbon emission with green emission, which many countries like as China, United Kingdom and France, have keyed into.
He explained that Oldang tricycle models use both solar and electric power sources, thus making them dual powered vehicles, adding, “The beauty of this means that the brand will enjoy continuous charging when on the move through the abundant sun ray which would be stored in the battery.
“In case of a continuous rain, one can charge it with electricity sources from Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), or generator power. And when it is fully charged, it can take one through 120 km journey, which is like Lagos to Ibadan”.
He disclosed the features of the product: “It has leather and fabric comfortable seat, low maintenance, indoor fan, roomy interior, arm rest, FM/CD sound system, side mirrors, high ground clearance, reverse camera uncommon in most of the vehicles of such device, screen wiper, brake light and many more.”
He said that plans were afoot for possibility of an assembly plant to be located at Lagos and Kano with mini plants in other major cities, which would help skills transfer to local engineers.
Comparing the product with those that use petrol and diesel, National President, TOAN Mr. Augustine Apeh said, “There are no similarities because Oldang solar and electric tricycle does not emit carbon that could be harmful to health,
“This is the kind of transportation model we need in Nigeria. We are not saying that the other ones that use petrol and diesel should be faced out. Rather, both versions should compete for the share of the market”.
Represented at the event by Alhaji Ibrahim Folorunsho, Chairman, TOAN, Osun state chapter, he said that TOAN would partner with the management of Oldang in organizing training and workshop for its members on how to effectively maximize the features of the automobile.