…new auto policy to create 70,000 jobs- FG
Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
The Director General of National Automotive Council, Engr. Aminu Jalal has said Nigerians spent more than N 550 billion to import vehicles every year.
This is coming as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga said Nigerian automotive industry has potentials to generate 70,000 skilled and semi-skilled jobs.
Jalal in a paper titled New Automotive Measures: Short and Long term gains, said the annual spending on vehicles import is over 550 billion (US$ 3.5 billion) and making it the number two users of foreign exchange in 2012 after boilers, machinery and appliances.
Jajal who described the new auto policy as "one of the best things that have happened to Nigeria, said Nigeria would now produce a million of vehicle every year.
He said that considering the size of our country, with over 167 million, "one million units of vehicles in the automobile industry is very low compared to what you can see around the world."
Once the capacity is developed, he said the automobile industry will be the second biggest industry in Nigeria. If we are not ready to produce, it means that we have thrown away our future.
He said Nigeria and Bangladesh are the only country in the top ten by population without a developed automotive industry.
He added that major auto importers were not opposed to the policy but needed a level playing in addition to being carried along in the implementation of the policy.
"He said, "I believe that the new auto policy is one of the best, things that have happened to our country. We are not against the policy because I believe it is for the good of our country. The objective of the policy is to create jobs and we know that is what is ultimately going to happen. Let no one make a mistake about this. Africa is rising and that rise will start from Nigeria."
According the Minister the sector currently employs about 2,584 jobs in the country which is not too good for Nigeria economy.
He said that the Federal government recently fashioned out a collective action plan for the successful implementation of the new automotive policy.
Aganga on his parted added that more than 210,000 indirect jobs in the Small and Medium Enterprise would be created from the establishment of automobiles assembly plants in Nigeria.
The Minister restates that the implementation of the policy is in line with President Goodluck Jonathan's Transformation Agenda to create massive employements.
He said that automotive industry will create quality employment and a wide range of technologically advanced manufacturing opportunities.
He said that all over the world, major vehicle manufacturers now concentrate on assembly and produce only about 30 percent of the over 2,000 parts in a car and outsource the rest to component supply and seven others in the raw materials supply industry.
He observed that the industry therefore creates many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as direct and indirect jobs.
He noted that Nigeria is well positioned to be a major assembly hub for international auto companies due to the existing installed auto capacity, large labour force, significant local demand and strategic location for exports.
"This is not a problem at all because the next step we usually take with all the policies that we have is to have an industry group to monitor and work with us in the implementation stage. So, we have set up a committee to work with us in the implementation of the policy," he added.