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Eight years after, Nigeria’s auto policy wobbles

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Stakeholders still await auto policy’s full implementation eight years after its introduction, FEMI OWOEYE reports

Although Nigeria’s auto policy was launched almost three decades ago (1993), a development framework was not initiated until two decades after (2013); that was under President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime.

The policy and its development plan were aimed at boosting the demand for made-in-Nigeria vehicles and encouraging Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to set up local vehicle manufacturing plants. Ultimately, it was expected to revitalize and grow the Nigerian automotive sector with a multiplier effect on the nation’s economy.

No doubt, as a result of the partly implemented policy, the sector, within the last seven years has not only generated an ample of employment, it has also grown with an installed capacity to assemble about 500,000 vehicles per annum.

To this end, the industry has attracted many OEMs such as Honda, Mitsubishi, Ford, Geely, Kia, Nissan, Hyundai, Sinotruck, Shackman, Dongfeng, XCMG, Peugeot, MAN, Yutong and FAW, which have opened investment lines to Nigeria, mostly in the form of technical partnership with Nigeria entrepreneurs.

The industry also generated direct investment by indigenous brands such as Honda, Innoson, Jetvan and Proforce.

However, due to poor policy administration and failure to implement certain essential provisions of the policy, it has suffered a summersault, recording constrained capacity utilization. That is why 28 years down the line, the nation’s auto industry stakeholders are still hopelessly awaiting full implementation.

Fielding questions from this writer, Mr Luqman Mamudu, former Director of Policy and Acting Director General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), reiterated that poor project implementation on the part of the Federal Government had caused a setback for the nation’s auto industry.

He said, “Seven years into its 10-year tenure, there has been practically no monitoring and evaluation of the policy, apart from initial sector report in 2016/17. All the associated programmes designed to create demand for vehicles assembled in Nigeria and grow local content have been abandoned by institutions responsible to do so.”

Moreover, auto finance provision, which in the original draft of the NAIDP was meant to grant affordable loans to Nigerians to acquire locally assembled vehicles, thereby creating demand and making the secondhand imports unattractive over the years, has been jettisoned.

As if that was not enough, the Federal Ministry of Finance, by Section 38 of Finance Act 2020, further worsened the situation by reducing the protective tariff for imported fully built unit (FBU) commercial vehicles from 35 per cent to 10 per cent, while imported semi knocked down (SKD) kits remain at 10 per cent.

“As a result,” Mamudu pointed out that “Nigerian ports and streets are now flooded with all manner of used commercial vehicles and cars with consequent depletion of the nation’s foreign reserves and a weakened naira.

“Sadly, although Nigeria has established tremendous capacity utilization in the commercial vehicle body building, now you do not have to build locally, just import.”

Following the invocation of the 2020 Finance Act, it has become more profitable to simply import vehicles for sale than venturing into local assembling.

Mamudu stated further, “Automotive assembly, especially final assembly, which dominates assembly activities in Nigeria, is certainly unprofitable to the assemblers compared to outright import. The protective tariff and levies are equally vexatious to many interests, as they wish to import freely.

“So, the implementation process needs to have been carefully managed to quickly ramp up to the CKD and components manufacture, where all would be happy.

“This is why the process requires close monitoring and adjustment to align with public concern. It is because there is no reasonable feedback that those who had earlier opposed the policy in the first place seem to be having the upper hand. The Finance Act 2020 with its devastating effects is one such example. It particularly accused the policy of slow or ineffective impact and set forth to remove the protective measures without consulting stakeholders.

“The implementation of the auto policy requires sacrifice from all in the interest of growing the real sector. But such sacrifice has its limit. The protective tariff was designed to be reduced as the industry gained traction, but it’s not being nurtured to do so.”

On the state of the NAIDP bill, Mamudu, who is now the Managing Partner, Transtech Industrial Consulting, said the last information he had was that the bill was under expert review.

In his view, however, the reviewed draft of the NAIDP should be shared for stakeholders’ input, particularly the Nigeria Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA) before its final passage and signing into law.

Being the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria has in the past six years been under pressure from the OEMs to complete the implementation circle of its auto industry development policy. The OEMs could see Nigeria becoming an automotive manufacturing hub of the continent.

But as of the time of putting this story together, the nation’s auto policy remains under a dark silence. Even stakeholders are also in the dark.

In the meantime, while importers of used vehicles and new fully built units smile to the bank, the nation’s economy bleeds.

– Nigeria Auto Journal, December 2021

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Auto finance: CBN, NADDC discuss new options for vehicle buyers

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The Director General of the National Auotomotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu, says the agency has commenced discussions with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to design workable solutions for auto financing to make vehicle purchase affordable for Nigerians.

He stated this in a presentation made at the 9th Annual Transport Lecture organized by Transport Day Newspapers, with the theme, ‘Nigeria’s Transportation For Development: Sectoral Achievements, Prospects and Challenges’, held in Abuja.

“We had a meeting with the CBN yesterday on auto financing. We want to work out a solution that would enable Nigerians to buy new vehicles and pay over a period of six years,” he said.

The NADDC boss said the move was part of the agency’s efforts geared towards promoting and enhancing value addition in the transport cum automotive sector of the economy by creating a conducive business climate to further enhance investment inflow and industrialization.

Aliyu also said the NADDC was rapidly shifting attention to carbonless transport system in Nigeria in a bid to develop and promote advanced transport technology in the automotive industry.

He said, “This is because, vehicle electrification is inevitable, it is the future of automotive industry worldwide and we are working assiduously towards achieving its comprehensive and sustainable adoption in Nigeria.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that poor maintenance culture of vehicles in the transport sector contributes immensely to environmental pollution. The use of EVs that have advanced technology will not only curb these excesses but will also lead to more productivity in the industry.

“Currently, one of our top focus areas is scaling up production of applicable electric vehicles locally, to enable Nigeria meet its target for the Paris Accord and 2060 net zero commitment, both on reducing harmful gas emissions from vehicles” he said.

He further stated the NADDC recently set up a technical committee on electric vehicle development plan aimed at drawing up a comprehensive development programme for vehicle electrification in Nigeria.

According to the NADDC boss, this plan will also ensure that made-in Nigeria EVs are of world standards and compete favourably in the global market.

“As a pilot scheme project, the NADDC has established 100% Solar Powered EV Charging Stations at Usman Danfodio University Sokoto, University of Lagos and University of Nigeria Nsukka and also discussing with other stakeholders for collaboration in establishing more charging infrastructure all over the country.

“In conclusion, NADDC is committed to establishing and giving support to development programmes that will aid the Nigerian transport sector.

“I therefore urge all stakeholders to begin to think of a paradigm shift from the conventional vehicles to carbonless transportation system and key into the vehicle electrification projects of the Council with a view to achieving cleaner air in Nigeria.”

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AutoTrends: Stop driving your old crossovers, Mercedes warns, recalls ML, others

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Mercedes-Benz has asked owners of certain older crossovers to stop driving due a to corroded brake booster that could cause the brakes to fail.

The automaker said the request and corresponding recall applied to 292,287 ML-, GL-, and R-Class crossovers and SUVs from the 2006-2012 model years.

Recalls are common, but urging customers to stop driving is not,  according to thecarconnection.com.

In the affected vehicles, water exposure in the brake booster housing can cause a joint to corrode, leading to a leak in the brake system.

Brake force may also be reduced, forcing drivers to press harder on the brake pedal to decelerate and come to a stop. In rare cases, Mercedes said, it may be impossible to stop if there has been severe corrosion.

The risk of a crash or injury would increase, although Mercedes said it was aware of no known crashes or injuries related to the issue.

According to the premium brand automaker, the emergency brake pedal is not affected, and could be used in case of a regular brake pedal failure. Mercedes will provide complimentary towing of the affected vehicles to service centers.

Dealers are expected to inspect the brake booster housing and replace parts as required. If the part cannot be fixed immediately, Mercedes said it will help “coordinate an individual solution for the customer, including alternate mobility.”

 

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AutoTrends: Hyundai Sonata models face fuel leak risk

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A potential fuel hose leak in 2013 and 2014 models of Hyundai Sonata has again led to the immediate recall of the vehicles globally.

The NHTSA disclosed this, noting that the factory fault could increase the risk of a fire.

The 2013-2014 Sonata and 2013-2014 Kia Optima had previously been recalled for a fuel hose that can crack prematurely and leak fuel.

The tape and zip-tie remedy for those earlier recalls did not stick.

With the new recall, the fuel line will be replaced at no cost to owners, Hyundai states.

Without the proper fix, the leaking fuel could come in contact with a spark or ignition source that could cause a fire in the engine compartment, thecarconnection.com notes.

The recall encompasses 215,171 Sonatas. Owners may smell fuel on vehicles equipped with either the 2.0-litre turbo-4 or 2.4-litre inline-4 engines. Hyundai reported 138 incidents in the past two years of the defect, but the automaker said there were no known crashes, fires, or injuries.

Hybrid versions of both sedans from those model years were recalled for a separate fire risk.

Hyundai and sister brand Kia have issued a series of recalls for increased fire risk for a variety of reasons, ranging from a faulty electrical socket (2011-2012 vehicles) to a short circuit in the braking system (2006-2011 Elantras).

Owners will be notified by mail as early as July 5, and will be instructed to take their affected Sonata into a dealer to have the fuel feed line replaced at no charge, regardless of warranty status.

Hyundai owners who paid for fuel line repairs to address the leak will be reimbursed.

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