A leading voice in the Nigeria automotive industry who is also Managing Director of BKG Exhibitions, Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Agwu, has called on the federal and state governments to ensure that all the vehicles to be procured as part of subsidy removal Palliative are sourced locally.

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Giving this advice in a chat with newsmen within the week, the BKG Exhibitions Limited boss, noted that injecting the money into the Nigerian automotive industry will spur more activities that will fast track the development of the industry with the attendant socio-economic benefits to the people and economy of Nigeria.

According to him, “We have companies in Nigeria that could meet up the demand as well as subsequent ones.”

The Managing Director, whose company organizes the Lagos Motor Fair/Africa Autoparts Expo as well as the Abuja International Motor/Nigeria Autoparts Expo, noted that the sector has suffered serious setbacks for over a decade now owing to the poor attention paid to it by the government especially with the poor implementation of the government instituted National Automotive Industry Development Policy/Plan [NAIDP], which is in its 10th year of epileptic implementation.

He added “No doubt, low sales and lack of clear-cut policy direction, amongst others have been plaguing the industry which makes it to be in dire need of life support, injecting the funds for the purchase of these vehicles will go a long way in restoring life and vibrancy to the industry.

“Procuring these vehicles from sources that are not playing big in the Nigerian market will only end in more capital flight out of the country and worsening the precarious state of the nation’s economy. More jobs will be created in the benefiting economies while unemployment persists in Nigeria.

“Most of the auto companies in Nigeria injected billions of Naira in setting up assembly plants in the country and have little or nothing to show for it. They must be encouraged and highly supported by the government through this and subsequent patronage.”

He reasoned that “the government should not shut them (local auto players) out as used to be the case in the past; they must enjoy this as they have suffered a lot plying their trade in the ever turbulent Nigerian market.”

Agwu whose company has been serving the automotive industry since 1998 through its Motor Fairs, urged the government to consider using the automotive industry in driving Nigeria’s economic development.

“I urge the new government to ensure that the automotive sector of the Nigerian economy remains in the front burner of its economic policy and programmes from the onset.  

“The sector is very important as it shows physically the state of the economy and it generates much revenue and creates enormous employment. No serious government toys with it. It is a sector that affects virtually everything.

“If it is not rightly re-positioned now, it will in the very near future negatively affect a whole lot in the life of the people and economy. Government should therefore parley seriously with the sector stakeholders to seeing how it could be made better.

“Nigeria has the resources and capacity to become the hub of automotive business in the continent and it will be a very big disservice to Nigeria and its people if other African countries do this ahead of Nigeria, especially in West Africa.”

The BKG boss called on the government to ensure that the sector benefits immensely from the N75 billion it proposed to spend in rejigging the manufacturing sector; as it is the best assured sector that will help the government in creating massive employment opportunities in the economy.