U.S. investors flood embassy with enquiries on Nigeria’s auto industry
The United States Embassy in Abuja says President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent visit to the U.S. has triggered a flood of enquiries from potential American investors on the country’s automotive industry.
The embassy’s Counsellor for Economic Affairs, Mr. Alan Tousignant, said this when he visited the Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) on Friday in Abuja.
According to a statement issued by Mr Bello Rasheed, the Principal Executive Officer (Information) of NADDC, Tousignant visited to make enquiries on the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP).
The statement reported Tousignant as saying that he was at the NADDC to get answers for the deluge of enquiries from the American government and its business community on the NAIDP.
It said that the Director-General of NADDDC, Mr Aminu Jalal, and the council’s Director of Policy and Planning, Mr Luqman Mamudu, received and briefed the U.S. team
The statement said: "Tousignant said that there had been an upsurge in the amount of business enquiries from America since the recent visit of President Buhari to the U.S.
"He told the NADDC DG that quite a number of the latest enquiries from potential American investors were on the Nigeria auto industry.
"Therefore, he needed to know about applicable staff structure, incentives, availability of skilled personnel, current total installed capacity, local value
addition and industrial clusters and infrastructure.
"He also asked questions on applicable safety standards, annual national vehicle demand, export potential to other countries, among others.’’
The statement said that the NADDC DG, Mr Aminu Jalal, was excited by the "keen interest shown by American companies and businessmen in the industry''.
According to the statement, Jalal told his visitors that two American automobile giants, Ford Motors and General Motors, had confirmed their interest in starting vehicle assembly operations in 2016.
"The NADDC DG explained that Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa with very huge market for automobiles. He stressed that the auto policy is intended to transform Nigeria into a major vehicle manufacturing hub for leveraging on Nigeria’s abundant trainable labour force and material resources especially petrochemical-based.
"Jalal told Tousignant and members of his team that with a population of over 170 million, Nigeria could not continue to run an import dependent economy,’’ the statement said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the NAIDP was launched by the Federal Government in 2014 to limit excessive automobile imports and promote massive investments in affordable made-in-Nigeria cars.
Stakeholders had expressed fears that the Buhari administration would discard the policy, but he used the U.S. visit to assure investors of his commitment to the development of the auto industry.