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Auto spare parts’ dealers task government on inclusiveness, decry policy inconsistency

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Workers of Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) reparing a failed portion at Moboloaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, yesterday…<br />PHOTO BENJAMIN ALADE

Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association (ASPMDA) has been described as possessing the capacity to boost the country’s economy if given the necessary support.

Besides, the dealers have stressed the need for the Federal Government to ensure the sector is being carried along in the ongoing reforms in the automotive sector to ensure proper inclusiveness.

Speaking at the ongoing West Africa Automotive Show (WAAS) in Lagos, Secretary, Foreign Trade and Investment Committee, ASPMDA, Leo Okoye, said the industry has not recorded growth due to lack of government support.

Okoye said: “We have not received any government support. Though we have government representatives like the National Automotive Council (NAC). So on all imports, you have to pay to the government seven per cent surcharge and they said that those monies are kept to industrialize the country.

“During Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, the government said they would build Mechanic village in all the states, But up till now, we have not seen it and they were talking of manufacturing of made in Nigerian cars that they will give support and up till now, we have not seen it.”
 
Speaking on the automotive policy, he said: “For now, that policy is not working unless they would improve tomorrow. I asked the Head of NAC in Abuja, about the production of Nigerian vehicles by next year. She said that the government always frustrates them. She said all efforts they put in to make it a success were frustrated. So they are not doing anything.
 
“The government should support us in all the things that are needed. If we have a rolling industry, it will help. If you want to make small moulds before you bring in the bigger machines, it would help us. Like we do in China, if you want to shape something, you go to rolling mills and they shape some iron for you and you carry them to your factory and make the finishing. All those things are what are required in the country but the government is not interested,” he added.
  
Managing Director, BtoB Events, Jamie Hill, said that the event was put together in Nigeria because they actually believed in the Nigerian market and the opportunity it presents.

Speaking on the auto sector, Hill said: “I think there is a long way for the automotive sector to go to reach its potential. I mean, you look at lots of the local assembly plants and then there are a lot of the international players also set up here. With the resource that Nigeria has through the economic size and the population. I feel that it’s a Sleeping giant.

“I think that the automotive sector can really help and I just hope that by creating platforms like this and adding in some educational content with conferencing and a future that we might be able to play a small part in hoping and allowing Nigerians automotive industry to achieve its full potential,” he added.

Describing Nigeria as a market that needs to be represented by a platform such as an exhibition, Hill said: “It is an opportunity to bring the stakeholders under one roof to interface and move their businesses forward”.

According to Hill, the exhibition is in line with the federal government’s plans to make sure that a large percentage of cars on the Nigerian roads are made in Nigeria.

On what they intend to achieve with the exhibition, Hill said “It is a perfect opportunity and it represents the local automotive industry. We want to create global recognition to the Nigerian auto parts sector be they spare parts or auto assembly because we hope a lot more manufacturers are coming up in Nigeria”.

Emphasising that WAAS marketing strategy is to target ECOWAS countries first, Hill, however, observed that Nigeria is the powerhouse for the exhibition project.

He said the government is very proactive in their plans to increase the number of cars on Nigerian roads to be made in Nigeria, adding that WAAS will align themselves with the plans of the government and the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) so that they can work together.

Describing the Nigerian market, Hill said: “There is a significant value for the auto parts market in Nigeria. There is a lot of value placed in this market from the rest of the world”.

In the first day, about 100 exhibitors from Nigeria and from around the world had relocated to Lagos, venue of the exhibition, to forge new business ties and show off the latest developments and products in the spare parts and services sector. It was also a fertile ground for Suppliers, dealers and manufacturers to discuss best practices for the industry and find out more about the developing local motor manufacturing industry.


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