From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Director General, National Automative Design and Development Council (NADDC), Jelani Aliyu, has disclosed that the Council is partnering Jaiz Bank to pioneer a programme where Nigerians can buy brand new electric or gas vehicles on loan and pay over period of five years.
Aliyu also said that, in the next 10 years, 50% of the vehicles that would be on the Nigerian roads would be electric vehicles produced or assembled in Nigeria.
NADDC Director General stated this while fielding questions from Journalists in Kaduna, saying that, the automobile companies currently producing and assembling in Nigeria, including Dangote, PAN, Honda, Elizade, Innoson and Lanre Shittu among others have invested over N500 billion in the industry as at 2019.
He also said that, the combination of the automobile companies in the country, currently have the capacity to produce up to 400,000 vehicles per year and they currently employ over 50,000 Nigerians.
According to NADDC boss, “In the 70s and 80s, Nigeria had Peugeot, Volkswagen, Anamco, Styre, Leyland and things were looking up to and the automotive industry was booming, with a lot of potentials. We had brand new vehicles and we knew nothing like imported used vehicles; everyone who could, bought a new car.
“Peugeot alone had 40% local contents; parts were coming from here in Kaduna, in Lagos, Nnewi and Jos, we were producing over 140,000 vehicles per year here in Nigeria and people were buying them up. Then, in 1986, something very bad happened. Because we were so dependent on crude oil, the price of crude oil dropped from $27 to below $10 and that threw Nigeria into recession.
“Those Nigerians who could buy brand new Peugeot 504 could no longer afford them. So, the Peugeot, the Volkswagen had to close down and a lot of those producing vehicles, not because government said, not because the companies left, but because the market had dried up.
“So this administration said something has to be done and the National Automative Design and Development Council got the approval of the Federal Executive Council to implement the National Automative Industry Development Plan, which has five key elements including; helping to promote local production, development of infrastructure, development of standard and market development.
“As result, we are working on 10 years tax holiday for any company that comes up to produce vehicles in the country. Also we there is only 10 per cent import duty on vehicles parts imported into the country for assembly here. And when vehicles are assembled here, they attract zero duty and zero levy.
“Due to these policies, a lot of companies have connected to the Nigerian automobile industry. As at 2019, over N500 billion had been invested by these companies. We have Dangote, Innoson in Nnewi, Lanre Shittu, Elizade, Honda and others who are actively producing vehicles in Nigeria. Many Nigerians are still surprise, when you tell them vehicles are made here, they expect to see the vehicles rough and old-fashioned. But the vehicles are of the same standard as those produced anywhere around the world.
“The automobile companies presently producing in Nigeria, can produce up to 400,000 vehicles per year, but they are not presently producing that, because the market is not there. Yet the industry has today employed up to N50,000 people and we hope it will continue to grow,” he said.
He said as part of the national gas expansion programme, the local automotive companies are aside the conversion of regular petrol and diesel vehicles to natural gas vehicles, are now producing brand new gas powered vehicles in Nigeria.
Aliyu said electric vehicle is really better for Nigerian environment where the culture of maintenance is low, as the vehicles do not have engines that require fuel, engine oil, plugs, rings and piston, which need regular repairs.
He however said that, as a way of assisting the economy of Nigerians, who have been over the years forced to pay upfront for vehicles, the government has entered MoU with Jaiz Bank and talking with Zenith and WEMA banks to enable the citizens buy vehicles and pay in installments.
“In the US, Germany or France, nobody expects you to buy a vehicle upfront. You have a job, you pick up a vehicle and pay overtime. Sometimes, even before you finish paying up, you see another one you like, you can return, take the new one and continue paying.”
Restating the government’s resolve to ensuring 50 per cent or more of vehicles in ni Nigeria I the next 10 years are electric vehicles, the DG allayed the fear that going electric in automobile will have negative effect on the Nigerian economy, as he said that, Nigeria is blessed with enormous natural resources to replace the oil in the international market.