Transforming Nigeria’s Automobile Industry
Automobile industry in Nigeria started as far back as the 1950s and consists of the production of passenger cars and commercial trucks. Significant development began in the 1970s, during a period of oil boom, the Federal Government of Nigeria signed joint venture partnerships with foreign car manufacturers to assemble vehicles and provide technical assistance towards vertical integration within the local industry.
Efforts are being geared to develop the country’s automobile sector, and as a result, the federal government has been advised to set out policies to encourage the manufacturing of automotive components such as tires, doors, glass, among others.
This development would also have a spill-over effect on value-added for the economy and create a number of high-skilled jobs. However, building the automobile sector takes time and requires a supportive business environment.
It is important that the levy on consumer vehicles decrease as the industry grows and becomes more competitive. The policy aims were to promote local production, attract foreign direct investment, curtail the overdependence on vehicle importation, and boost the industry’s contribution to the national economy.
It is important that the policy enactment and implementation be effectively executed, and then clear plans and very strict monitoring and evaluation frameworks be deployed to ensure that the set initiatives are duly executed and the desired outcomes and impact are closely tracked and achieved.
Renewable energy, Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have an important role in the future of the automotive industry. Vehicles are becoming Internet of Things (IoT) devices which can connect to smartphones and take voice commands, changing the user interface. Moreso, electric powered and solar powered vehicles are driving the automobile sector worldwide. This is because they are more sustainable and environmental friendly.
It is pertinent that the Nigeria automobile sector leverage on these new innovative technologies and it should be considered in the policies and implemented so as to harness greater value for the sector.