By Frank Kintum

Infinity Tyres

The new core investor in PAN Nigeria Limited, the Kaduna based auto assembly company, Nesbitt Investment Nigeria Limited, has promised to inject $150m into the company “over the next three years…for retooling and upgrading of the assembly line, support infrastructure and for working capital.”

This was revealed yesterday by the new Chairman of Pan Nigeria Limited, Hon. Ahmed Wadada Aliyu at the handover ceremony in Kaduna.

The Chairman thanked the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) “for the opportunity to invest in PAN as the new core investor, and given the status of Pan in Nigeria as the number one automobile company, we are humbled and fortunate to be the company tasked to awaken this huge sleeping giant of immense economic potentials.”

According to him, “we treasure our human capital and strongly believe in them to drive our visions and aspirations for Pan Nigeria, and that is why we are immediately putting in place an attractive condition of service that will retain and motivate our human capital and also attract the best hands, so as to restore PAN Nigeria to its number one position in Nigeria and within the ECOWAS region.

“Pan under the supervision of the board shall undergo massive restructuring, and in so doing, we shall observe strict corporate governance protocols, transparency, business integrity, efficiency and ethics in all our undertakings.”

Hon Aliyu added that “as the core investor, we strongly believe in the principle of responsible, responsive and sustainable investments, while we add not only financial muscle and strength but also social value to the investments we embark on.

“We will not only be providing employment, but we shall also provide economic benefits throughout the supply chain and to local service providers (local content). In all our investments including Pan Nigeria, health and safety guidelines are always a priority.”

The Chairman recalled that “in 2019, Nigeria imported at least 400,000 used cars (tokunbo) as against 68,000 brand new vehicles. Because of this imbalance, PAN Nigeria will be introducing new brands of vehicles into the market to re-launch brand affordability in Nigeria, such that Nigerians will have access to brand new vehicles.

“We will also be introducing a robust car financing scheme which will be a collaboration and partnership between our dealerships and a few selected banks. This will be in fulfilment of President Buhari’s wish for Nigerians to afford brand new vehicles.”

He also stated that “Pan Nigeria as the number one auto assembly plant in Nigeria shall take the leadership role in engaging stakeholders such as the National Assembly, the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment (FMIT), National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) etc.   Pan Nigeria shall be involved in the activities of the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) committee set up to examine the auto industry.

However, the Chairman expressed some concerns, as according to him, “our biggest concern is the over 50 assembly plants who have not made any matching investments and are enjoying the incentives of the auto policy at the same time. Pan Nigeria will initiate conversations with NADDC to enforce the assembly classification and equipment standardisation.

“We will be appealing to CBN to support us and all other genuine assembly plants so that foreign exchange is made available for our imports.

“We thank President Buhari for creating the enabling environment for our company to be able to commit to this huge investment. We hope the President will continue to sustain this favourable environment for more investors into Nigeria.

“We are appealing to Mr. President to fast track legislation on the automotive policy so that NADDC can enforce its implementation. We shall also network the national assembly to support Mr. President in this regard.”

It would be recalled that PAN Nigeria, built in the 70s under Nigeria’s second industrial plan, has passed through many phases, being an exclusive assembly line for Peugeot vehicles until recently when Higer and Geely brands were introduced.

Until it was handed over yesterday, it was under the control of AMCON, holding in trust for the federal government after purchasing unserviceable debts.

It is expected that the Peugeot franchise will be relinquished to the newly formed Dangote Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (DPAN), which was unsuccessful in its bid to buy PAN. The new core investors of PAN Nigeria are holding a controlling share of 79.3 %.