By G9ija

DIRECTOR-General of  the National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, Mr. Jelani Aliyu, has said a review of the nation’s auto policy is ready and will soon be sent to the National Assembly as an executive bill for speedy passage and thereafter forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

He stated this in Abuja on Wednesday at the opening of the 22nd edition of the annual Abuja auto fair. The policy known as the National Automotive Industry Development Plan, NAIDP, which was introduced in 2014 by the Federal Government to encourage local assembling of vehicles, became contentious as Buhari failed to give his assent even though the lawmakers had passed the bill. It was sent back for a review. Jelani, who also represented the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said all stakeholders, including relevant government agencies and private sector players, were allowed to make input in the latest review. This bill now at the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment will be going back to the National Assembly as an executive bill, and it is expected to receive express passage and the president’s assent. It is a holistic review; we’ve asked all stakeholders to make input.

The NADDC DG said the auto industry remained crucial to the development of the nation’s economy, adding that the agency was on course with the NAIDP as a tool to transform the industry, despite its implementation challenges. Many automakers, including Toyota and Volkswagen, have agreed to establish plants in Nigeria as a result of their belief in the merits of the auto industry plan, he claims. According to him, more than 30,000 Nigerian youths had been trained in modern auto technology, just as he disclosed that 18 auto training centres were established across the country for this purpose. He urged Nigerians to patronise Nigeria-assembled vehicles to increase job creation and boost auto business in Nigeria.

Chairman of the organizing committee for Abuja auto fair and Managing Director of BKG Exhibition Limited, Ifeanyi Agwu, said the annual event has played a major role in the development of the nation’s auto sector and Abuja as a viable business centre. About 98 percent of auto companies in Abuja today were brought into the city through the motor fair. He bemoaned the government’s long-standing disregard for the industry, despite its importance to national economic growth, stresing: “I don’t know how the auto companies are able to stay afloat in the face of a high exchange rate, among other challenges.”