By Meshack Idehen

The National Automotive Design and Development Council, (NADDC) said it will work closely with global auto manufacturers like Nissan, Toyota, BMW and Ford amongst others to ensure that wholly Nigerian produced vehicles quickly become a reality.

The council said it will also consolidate on providing support, technical expertise and direction to the industry, including to indigenous vehicles manufacturers like Innoson, in order to fastrack the process of achieving the mandate of the council for the sustainable development of the automotive industry in Nigeria.

Speaking in Abuja on Thursday during a Media Interactive forum with Members of the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria, (CICAN), the Director General of NADDC, Mr. Jelani Aliyu, (MFR), said the council’s focus and commitment remains on initiating policies, implementing strategies and bringing in world class approaches that will make Nigeria become and remain the center for automotive development in Africa.

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According to the him, these initiatives when fully implemented, will have the multiple effects of creating thousands of jobs, generating unlimited skills acquisition opportunities for Nigerians in the automotive design and development sectors and creating avenues for enhanced governments revenues through diversification.

The NADDC director General said the council was already working with relevant partners and financial institutions that will provide a sustainable auto financing scheme for Nigerians, adding it was lamentable that Nigeria was amongst the few countries in the world where a hundred percent down payment is required before a vehicle can be purchased.

Insisting that such situation cannot continue, Aliyu said in its continuous bid to make Nigeria the automotive design and development epicenter of Africa, that NADDC has concluded arrangements to partner with global auto manufacturers and local manufactures.

He explained that once the Federal Government’s Auto Policy become a law that Nigeria will experience an unprecedented growth and development of the sector, adding NADDC has structured the National Automotive Industrial Development Plan in full support of local automotive manufacturing, and is continuously and actively working with relevant stakeholders to provide a vehicle financing scheme so Nigerians won’t have to put down 100% cash when buying new cars.

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“With these initiatives already being put in place by the NADDC, Nigeria will move from a place where there are few highly expensive cars and millions of cheap very old ones, but a place where there are millions of modern new cars and even more of current high-end ones”.

According to him, NADDC is partnering with N-Power to train over three thousand auto technicians, and provide them with world class exposures, adding also that NADDC is in process of building three test centers in Lagos, Enugu and Zaria to make sure that the cars and components produced, sold and used in the country are world standard.

Th NADDC director general revealed that the council was already working on the opportunities by the coming of electric cars, pointing out it was the direction of the future and that Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind.

“NADDC is working on building PPP Automotive Supplier Parks in Nnewi, Kaduna and Oshogbo that would go into automotive components production, and the agency is engaging NAACAM of South Africa, a consortium of OEM components manufacturers that supply the big global automotive companies, NAACAM will support as part of a body of many international technical partners”.