Mr. Demola Ade-Ojo
Managing Director of JAC Motors/ Elizabeth Autoland, Demola Ade-Ojo, disclosed that the increased importation of used cars into the country is affecting the production of new vehicles in the country which would have not only provides needed jobs but boost Nigeria economy at the 19th Abuja Motor Fair opening ceremony on Tuesday.
“We deal with brand new vehicles, and the importation of “Tokunbo vehicles” is really, affecting our operation. I am pleading with Nigeria government to intervene and make brand new vehicles affordable”, he said.
He advised government and the stakeholders to work together and make sure that new cars are being assembled in the country to make them affordable,, by creating enabling environment and required signage, to forster the sector growth.
He went further to emphasis that the massive inflow of used vehicles into Nigeria are not only affecting affordability of the brand new vehicles but also stalling the country’s aspiration of becoming African automobile hub.
He called on government to look for a way to restructure and re- engineer automobile in industry in Nigeria.
Cutting of the flagged off tape by Jelani Aliyu
Speaking also at the event, Diana Chen, chairman/CEO of Choice International Group, the sole distributor of GAC Motors in Nigeria, said her company was glad to associate with Nigeria dreams, and that Nigeria population size already positioned it to become automobile hub due to large market available, and that if automobiles are assembled in Nigeria, spare parts and vehicle components will be available and affordable.
Jelani Aliyu with Diana Chen at GAC stand.
She advised the motor users not to patronise the street mechanics to keep their motors in order.
Responding to suggestions from different auto mobile dealers merchants who were present at the flag off, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated that Nigerians spent about $8 billion, annually, on importation of vehicles.
Mr Osinbajo, who was represented by the Director-General, National Automotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu, says,
“The government is fully committed to industrialisation and the mining sector to enable it create direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians
“About $8 billion goes to overseas for importation of vehicles while Nigerians are suffering, also most of the used vehicles imported are unsafe and not good for the citizens,’’ he said.
Mr Osinbajo further assured that government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Volkswagen group to develop an automotive hub in Nigeria.
He said the MoU was a major step toward the development of a robust automotive industry, to contribute to the continuous economic development of the country.
He also added that the present government believed in the strategic and catalytic role of the automotive industry in the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
According to him, 3,200 youths have been empowered through the N-Power Graduate Skills Acquisition Programme, adding that the programme will be expanded and made better to benefit more Nigerian youths that the N-power was a federal government initiative on job creation and empowerment initiative of the Social Investment Programme.
He went further to note that the Nnewi automotive parts industrial park had got its master plan and would soon be functional.
He finally, affirmed that the government would work with motor manufacturers and stakeholders to ensure that used cars were phased out of the country.
Pamela Ogwata reporting Abuja.