The Managing Director of KIA Motors Nigeria, Jacky Hathiramani has joined in commending the appointment of Mr. Aliyu Jelani as the new Director-General of National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC).

Hathiramani lauded the federal government “for bringing in experts with track record of excellent contributions to the automobile design and manufacturing in the world to strengthen the policy framework that will institutionalise local production of automobiles in Nigeria.”

According to Jacky, “The outstanding resume of Mr. Jelani points to the fact that the federal government is committed towards the development of automotive manufacturing in Nigeria.

With Mr. Jelani’s international experience, we are confident that he will charge the council to fully realise its objectives of providing a policy framework that will set the industry on the path of development and help it contribute its quota towards the industrialisation of Nigeria economy as evident in other economies.”

Stakeholders have, however, charged the new DG to take a critical look at the present state of the industry, and advised him to build on the gains of the auto policy, as well as take its implementation as a priority.

Hathiramani said, “The auto policy has reeled in some appreciable gains, bringing to the fore local production of automobiles in the country, as many a new car sold in Nigeria today are locally assembled. Consequently, we need to further strengthen the policy by reviewing it to meet the current realities and position the locally produced cars as one of Nigeria’s best export to sub-Saharan Africa. ”

He said with a number of assembly plants in Nigeria today, the production capacity of these plants are over 380,000 units per annum, adding “this is primarily the gains from the auto policy.” However, the recent news emerging from the automobile companies are pointing to the fact that the manufacturing plants’ capacity is underutilised as a result of the record low sales of cars in the last one year.

While it’s evident that the economic recession is a major challenge in the low sales, stakeholders have also espoused on some other salient inhibiting factors that contribute to the staggered development of the industry.

Jacky stated that for the industry to be rid of substandard cars and contribute immensely to the GDP of the country, the influx of imported used cars should be controlled.

On the point raised by customers that their interest in used cars is premised on the cost of new cars, Jacky charged the new DG to facilitate one of the cardinal points of the policy that made provision for partnership with financial institutions in offering low interest rate car acquisition schemes for the populace to make their owning new cars preferable option to the imported used cars. 

On the local content utilisation in the production of cars, Jacky espoused that the manufacturing of automobile is centered on many an ancillary company that produce some of the parts for the cars like batteries, leather/fabric for car seats, bolts and nuts, amongst others.

Thus, the establishments of these ancillary companies are directly proportional to the market volume and the demand for new cars can increase when there are affordable finance schemes and a reduction in the importation of used cars.

He states further, “When affordable new cars are accessible to Nigerians, the local production will grow and have a direct impact on the setting up of ancillary manufacturers.

This will, in turn, provide large-scale employment, increase the internally generated revenue for the government, and help in diversifying the economy amongst other gains.”

The automobile industry has remained one of the highest contributors to the global economy and serves as a fulcrum for the industrialisation of countries in the world over.

The NADDC council being the think-tank and at the core of the automobile industry in Nigeria needs to be at the fore of advancing the industry by providing actionable policy frameworks that will usher in a systemic and holistic structural development of the automobile industry in Nigeria.

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