The National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) has said that Nigeria spends about N2.88 trillion ($8 billion) on the importation of about 300,000 to 400,000 cars yearly.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, yesterday, on the council’s upcoming seminar workshop on the automotive sector in Nigeria, the Director General of NADDC, Jelani Aliyu, said most of the vehicles imported were used and the importation had zero benefit to the Nigerian economy.
Aliyu said the 70 per cent import duty and levy has been in force in order to discourage importation of cars and encourage domestic production of automobiles in the country.
He said Nigeria produced about 140,000 cars in the 1970s before downturns in the country’s oil sector forced local production down to zero.
The expert said with heightened interest to resurrect the automotive sector in Nigeria, local production of vehicles has risen considerably, with indigenous manufacturers such as Innoson Motors, springing up.
He said most of the challenges of the automotive sector in Nigeria will be addressed when the Nigerian Automobile Industry Development Bill (NAIDB) becomes law and the goal is to develop automotive test centres, automotive industrial parks, local manpower and an automotive industry that will be Africa’s hub.
“We are in the process of developing what we call the automotive centre of excellence, this will be a centralized institution here in Abuja. We are working with PAN to develop this centre, where anything and everything automotive will be bought,” he said.
He said NDDC is talking to development finance institutions about automotive financing in which Nigerians should be able to put in 10 per cent or less and pay over a number of years at just 6 to 8 per cent as opposed to 28 per cent interest rate.
“This will spur local capacity and support the production of vehicles in the country,” he said.