The National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to prioritise foreign exchange allocation to the automobile industry.
The council’s Director of Policy and Planning, Mr Luqman Mamudu, made the appeal in an interview with correspondent on Tuesday in Lagos.
Mamudu said the appeal was to enable the local manufacturers to acquire critical components for production and to safeguard their investments.
He said it was essential that forex allocation to the sector was prioritized, since the essence of the automotive policy was to boost local capability and restrict importation of used vehicles.
According to him, scarcity of forex is undermining the development of the industry.
“Presently, the local assemblies can produce 210, 000 vehicles per annum. We believe that with encouragement from government, it can improve.
“But, most assemblies are facing challenges of sourcing for foreign exchange for critical inputs, which has led some to staff lay off.
“To sustain the auto industry, local assemblies need encouragement from the government to access foreign exchange for production,’’ he said.
He stressed that the automotive industry was a critical sector capable of creating jobs and impacting on other sectors of the economy.
Mamudu said the automotive industry was capable of driving the agricultural sector because farm tractors were produced by the automotive industry.
“It also drives consumer goods like washing machines, motorcycles, boats used in the marine industry. The automotive technology is really versatile, that is why developed countries do not joke with the industry.
“We cannot keep importing vehicles. We must develop our capacity locally, so that we do not continue to rely on other countries,” Mamudu said.