Volkswagen, auto industry operators explore prospects to set up in Nigeria

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Volkswagen Group and 19 other automotive industry operators, investors and consultants say there are bright prospects of domesticating aspects of their manufacturing and supply value chain in Nigeria soon.

The Chairman/Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, Thomas Schaefer, who led the delegation of foreign investors on a visit to Nigeria, said their plan was to replicate the South African experience here.

“The plan is to have short, medium and long-term approaches that target growth in the manufacture of cars in Nigeria, similar to the over 60,000 cars produced per annum in South Africa,” Mr Schaefer said.

He was speaking during a visit to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okey Enelamah, in his office in Abuja.

A statement seen by Naija247news on Monday by the spokesperson to the minister, Bisi Daniels.

Mr Shaefer also requested that Nigeria’s new automotive policy be passed into law as it has the potential to activate their investment plans and unlock the growth of Africa’s automotive sector.

The international investors in the African automotive industry visited Abuja, Lagos and Edo State to engage various interest groups in the country to gain insight into the business opportunities and investment environment in the Nigerian automotive sector.

They also used the opportunity to identify areas they could assist in shaping national and state policies to support the auto industry, particularly in the area of domesticating manufacturing in Nigeria.

Other auto industry interest groups in attendance at the meeting included Volkswagen, Nissan, Bosch, BMW and Uber, apart from representatives from some financing institutions, including Standard Bank of Africa, International Finance Corporation, Graffitti, Deloitte, Actis.

The statement said the visit also afforded the investors opportunity to build relationships and network with key government and private sector figures, to deepen the structured business links and investment between Nigeria’s private sector and South Africa.

In separate meetings, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Mr Enelamah shared the federal government’s economic priorities with the investors.

Vice President Osinbajo assured the investors the government has the political will to implement the auto policy.

“There have been some difficulties with the implementation approach,” the VP said, “but this is the time we have considerable political will. If we can get the individual components right, we should be able to fly with this policy.”

On his part, Mr Enelamah described the visit of the delegation as a major boost to the development of the automotive industry in the country and the rest of Africa.

He said it was an encouraging expression of confidence in the leadership of the country and the spirited efforts of the government to exploit the socio-economic potentials of the automotive sector in the country to the fullest for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“We are excited by the role the automotive industry plays in the strategic and catalytic economic development of countries and we are committed to developing the sector speedily to facilitate the economic diversification of the country,” he said.

In 2016, the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM) held meetings with the Economic Management Team (EMT) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in their desire to contribute to the development of viable automotive assembly sectors within key African economies.

To realise this objective, the meeting resolved to engage with governments and national investors, and secure their cooperation in the development of effective automotive manufacturing and investment programmes.

The AAAM, which has BMW, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and VW as members is of the view the development of viable automotive sectors within African economies would contribute to Africa’s industrialisation, economic integration and employment creation.

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