Nigeria and the endless wait of the automotive sector

One could recall that some time ago, precisely the 3rd In September 2018, the Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari graciously signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with German Volkswagen Group to develop an automotive hub in the country.

The two countries involved, Nigeria and Germany, had to come up with a favorable political framework for the proposed project.

It should be noted that under the bilateral agreement, the automotive company is expected to implement a phased approach to vehicle assembly until it positions the country as an automotive hub across the region. of West Africa.

Lest I forget, with regard to the assembly of vehicles as mentioned in the pact, the government must take into account that it is necessary to make an extra effort to revive the dying pride of the country if it is really ready to invest in the said sector.

As we may have hastily forgotten, it is highly imperative to remember that some of these vehicles – particularly Peugeot products – were previously assembled in Nigeria, but the noble activity is now sadly moribund.

This therefore implies that the FG is forced to withdraw into itself in order to resurrect and relaunch the said practice, currently considered a lost glory. In a bid for an automotive hub, they must go through frantic efforts to reawaken the seemingly dead foundation.

The pact also includes the establishment of a training academy in conjunction with the German government with the sole purpose of equipping future pioneering employees of the impending industry with the required skills as well as imbuing them with necessary industrial qualities.

Certainly the creation of an academy to train the future indigenous workers who would kick-start the center is a welcome development. Needless to say, the MOU included the key recipe as far as expected industry is concerned.

However, the bitter truth is that such an approach is likely to fall apart on arrival if the actors involved do not take into account the essential factors required for its functionality. Therefore, the parties in charge of the initiative should spare no effort to do what is necessary.

It is equally relevant that the government recognizes that such an academy deserves long-term support. In view of this idea, the institute should not be used only in the case of ‘pioneer employees’. Thus, it must be kept in order to train future entrants as well as to upgrade the skills of those already integrated into the system.

Recalling other clauses contained in the pact, it should be noted that the FG, on its part, must ensure that the Nigerian automobile policy, which is currently under consideration, obtains rapid approval from the relevant quarters. The policy, although still in the works, includes the gradual transition from importing used cars to manufacturing and distributing new passenger vehicles.

It is no longer a news that overtime issues regarding policies have plagued most of the activities taking place in the country. The acknowledgment of this recurring decimal indicates that the relevant stakeholders are required to go the extra mile in their approach to ensure that the noble motive of the FG is duly actualized.

It is on this premise that I suggest that the authorities concerned carefully consider all the necessary parameters when preparing the policy. Every required factor, ranging from hub set-up, training academy, workshop/continuous education, work incentives and environment, must be considered holistically so that nothing absolutely lacking in the process.

It is truly saddening to note that three years after the pronouncement, nothing tangible has been done by the competent authorities to follow up on the chops. Therefore, the government must understand that citizens are looking at them seriously.

Legislators should be duly engaged in a quest to witness sound deliberation regarding necessary legislation. In his words, an adviser to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Bisi Daniels revealed that the government is committed to providing an enabling legislative environment for the production of automobiles in the country.

I see fit to advise that such a commitment must be fully implemented if the FG is truly determined to create an industry where Nigerians as a people can boast of producing automotive machinery that can be displayed and used anywhere in the world . .

Regarding the sealed deal, the Minister of the said ministry, Dr. Okechukwu Emelamah, strongly asserted that the MOU was a major milestone in the FG’s quest for a robust automotive industry in the country, thus assured that the government was damn ready to achieve the tech-driven goal.

The truth of the gospel is that it is all about the political will that accompanies the quest. In this context, in order for the circuit in question to reach its destination, the government must not pretend to ignore that what matters above all at this stage is to accompany the journey recently started with the required will.

This is indeed the time for the government to genuinely support the already existing private motor hubs in Nigeria such as Innoson Motors and others with the aim of ensuring that they excel in their respective activities aimed at boosting the economy. from the country. .

Among other things, for an in-depth emergence and maintenance of the industry in question, the country’s education sector must also be involved. Therefore, our technically oriented students must be brought closer to reality. It is appalling and pathetic to realize that our many graduates in the field of mechanical engineering and related disciplines cannot present the mechanisms that constitute the main parts of an automobile, much less manufacture them.

It is no longer news that in recent times, successive governments have taken various commendable and commendable steps but, in the long term, have ended up not realizing the purpose of the initiative, due to their inability to accompany the straightforward practical measures approach.

As Nigerians look forward to the new era, it is inconsequential to remind the government that it is meant to make a difference by doing things differently.

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