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FG will release reviewed auto policy soon – Minister  

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The Federal Government says it will release a reviewed auto policy before the end of the year.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, stated this in Abuja recently while speaking with stakeholders.

The ‘meet the stakeholders’ forum’ was facilitated by BKG Exhibitions Limited at the minister’s office.

Adebayo said the government was working hard to put in place a workable auto policy before the end of 2021.

Responding to myriad challenges confronting the industry in Nigeria as raised by the team, the minister said, “I can assure you that we are not unaware of these problems and we have been doing our best to see how we can tackle these problems.

“I am sure you must be aware that at the moment; we are working on the auto policy and we are hopeful that before the end of this year we have an auto policy in place which will be presented to Federal Executive Council for approval.”

He further disclosed that the policy was part of discussions the Federal Government had with Original Equipment Manufacturers recently, assuring that the document would be out before end of the year.

Adebayo also said already the AfriExim Bank had accepted to fund the consultancy for the preparation of the policy.

He assured the BKG Exhibitions team led by the Managing Director, Mr Ifeanyichukwu Agwu of the ministry’s support.

The minister said, “The auto sector is a sector that our ministry is very interested in because we know that it portends a lot for the future of this country in terms of employment of our teeming youths; we will support its growth and development.”

He said the government was working hard to adequately address the challenges of the industry.

Earlier, the BKG MD had thanked the minister for granting them audience and giving a listening ear to the stakeholders in the industry.

According to him, the auto sector in Nigeria is very key to Nigeria’s economic development, stressing that it has the potential of huge employment generation and revenue earning through duties and other direct and indirect taxes.

Agwu said the inflation in the country could drop significantly through a thriving automotive sector.

According to him, Nigeria’s auto sector is huge and holds the highest number of auto brand representatives in Africa.

The BKG boss noted that countries such as Ghana are positioning to overtake Nigeria as the hub of the automotive market on the continent due to the Nigeria’s policy inconsistency and law backing policy of growing the industry.

Agwu said, “I don’t think that there is any country in Africa that has the number of auto brand representatives that Nigeria has, not even South Africa or Egypt. Yet, these people are selling to us.”

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NAJA opens nomination for Nigeria’s car of the year

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As business activities get reactivated after the devastating effects of COVID-19, the race for Nigeria’s car-of-the-year event has commenced, the Nigeria Auto Journalists Association has said.

NAJA has announced that this year’s edition of the NAJA Awards will hold on Thursday December 9, 2021 at the Eko Hotels and Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos.

According to a statement by the Chairman, 2021 NAJA Awards Planning Committee, Theodore Opara, like the previous editions, the 2021 edition will celebrate and reward excellence in the Nigerian automotive industry in the outgoing year.

He said like the previous editions, the highpoints of the 2021 awards ceremony would be the car-of-the-year category.

Apart from the car of the year, he said, “Other segments of the awards are luxury car of the year, heavy duty truck of the year, auto plant of the year, CEO of the year, auto personality of the year, CSR company of the year, pick-up of the year, showroom of the year and many others.”

Opara said his committee comprising highly respected individuals in the motoring journalism had drawn out all the categories in the awards, and presently compiling nominations in the various categories.

“Industry experts are expected to decide the nominees based through a scoring system that will test vehicles’ strength, weaknesses and popularity against other contenders in same category,” he said.

Opara also said members of the committee would pay close attention to worldwide competition trends and take advice from industry experts in arriving at nominations and decoding eventual winners.

He said, “In this year’s edition, there’ll also be a special honour for Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, Chairman of Toyota Nigeria Limited and some other industry giants for their immense contributions to the development of Nigeria’s auto industry.”

Chairman of NAJA, Mike Ochonma, said the 2021 edition would provide an avenue to recognise corporate stakeholder organisations and other automotive products and ancillary products such as tyre brands and individuals that had made exceptional contributions to the country’s auto industry within the year.

According to him, NAJA uses its members’ combined influence to inform the automotive public of new products, market developments, and technology and road safety.

“We’re committed to remaining a valued, professional body for the motor content creators of today and the future of mobility multi-media tomorrow,” he stated.

 

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Eco Bus, Power Gas set to provide CNG stations in Nigeria

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Eco Bus maker and Power Gas have opened discussions on the plan to provide sufficient auto gas filling stations in Nigerian cities where compressed natural gas-powered vehicles can be re-fueled, and will be put to good use.

This is sequel to a recent introduction of the eco-friendly vehicles into the Nigerian market by Austrian Technologies Nigeria, an initiative expected to significantly reduce carbon emissions from vehicles with its attendant hazards to human health.

Director, Sales and Strategy at Powergas Nigeria, Sumeet Singh, said the firm was already talking with Austrian Technologies Nigeria on the auto-gas issue and how to ensure easy access of the CNG by the operators of the Natural Gas-powered Vehicles (NGVs).

According to him, there is the option of entering into an arrangement with managements and operators of the existing filling stations in the country currently dispensing petrol and other petroleum products to provide standard spaces for installation of the CNG facility.

He said, “Getting the auto-gas stations in a ready state could be achieved within six-nine months (or earlier, if not for the Global Supply-Chain challenges), which is about the same period it will take to deliver the Eco-Green Buses by automaker after getting firm orders from the stakeholders.”

Singh, who said his firm had about 50 gas-powered trucks currently operating in Nigeria, added that they would be willing to build and partner for provision of the CNG stations.

According to him, the CNG as an auto fuel is 50 per cent cheaper than alternate fuels (such as diesel), and with the current global price volatility of the liquid fuels, domestic Nigerian natural gas is one of the best tools for Nigeria to combat inflation and rising prices.”

Chief Executive Officer of Austrian Technologies Nigeria Limited, Mr Johann Rieger, had while announcing the introduction of the eco-friendly vehicles said the buses were built with European Standards for critical climate and infrastructure, while being considerate towards price sensitivity of developing nations like Nigeria.

Last week, Director General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu, also said Nigeria would leverage natural gas resources to drive the nation’s automotive wheels.

Aliyu, who spoke at a national awareness campaign/workshop on safety and benefits of gas-powered vehicles in Nigeria, stressed the need to embrace the eco-friendly automotive initiative, noting that Nigeria could not afford to be left out in the viable global auto gas initiative.

He described the global automotive industry as “a horse race that is technically advanced that only countries with adequate utilization of natural and human resources can fully participate and have a head start in the race.”

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Automakers begin lobby for Presidency’s N1.6bn new vehicles

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Automakers and dealers have commenced a high level of lobby for juicy contracts of vehicle supply to the Presidency and other agencies of government in the 2022 fiscal year.

Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has presented the next year budget to the National Assembly put at N16.39tn.

Part of the budget breakdown by Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, shows that the presidency would spend N1.6 billion on purchase of vehicles and spares.

Newstrends investigation shows that interested automakers/dealers are already lobbying influential politicians and top government officials to get sizeable chunks of the vehicle supply/parts supply.

Although the Federal Government had said it would lead in the patronage of locally assembled vehicles to encourage more local content utilization and job generation, dealers of imported brands are said to be in the lead of the lobby for government vehicles demand.

Currently, foreign brands dominate the fleet of vehicles being used by many chief executive officers of government agencies, governors, ministers and even the presidency.

Latest statistics show that the ongoing phased replacement of vehicles and spares at the presidency will cost N1.6bn compared to the N436m set aside for a similar purpose in the 2021 proposal.

Other details show that about N180,089,000 is provided for purchase of tyres for bulletproof vehicles, plain cars, CCU vehicles, platform trucks, jeeps, ambulances and other utility and operational vehicles.

A total of N116,194,297 was set aside for a similar purpose last year.

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