For Nigeria to tap into the opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the country needs to invest in the manufacturing of affordable models of popular automobile brands, Harpreet Singh, managing director of VON Automobile, a subsidiary of Stallion Group, has said.
Singh, who doubles as a board member of the Nigeria Automotive Manufacturers Association, said this at the pre-Intra-African Trade Fair Road Show panel session held in Lagos recently.
Speaking at a panel session titled ‘What Must Nigeria do to Take Advantage of the AfCFTA,’ Singh said the production of affordable cars in Nigeria would help the country reap the full benefit of AfCFTA and will result in the availability of quality and affordable cars for Nigerians.
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He acknowledged the efforts made by Nigeria towards implementing the National Automotive Industry Development Plan and what he described as President Bola Tinubu’s resolute dreams of transforming the country into a ‘Detroit of Africa’.
“Nigeria has taken decisive action by implementing the National Automotive Industry Development Plan. This innovative strategy aims to revive our beloved industry and captivate the attention of astute investors.
“To achieve this ambitious goal, it is imperative that we actively support the creation of additional car manufacturing plants, following the shining examples set by India, Egypt, and Brazil. These formidable establishments should focus primarily on producing affordable and popular brands, ensuring that vehicles are accessible to all Nigerians,” he said.
Singh also called for letting loose the full potential of the nation’s automobile manufacturing capabilities by ramping up exports of the locally manufactured/ assembled product lines including buses, trailers, semi-trailers, and affordable passenger vehicles.
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“We can effectively use our production capacity and benefit from economies of scale, catapulting our industry to newfound heights,” he said.
He called for more incentives to the nation’s pioneering auto investors including VON, Peugeot, IVM, Nissan, and Hyundai to grow local automobile manufacturing.