Trade ministry eyes increased employment, local production in auto industry

The federal ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) is looking to boost employment opportunities and local production in the automotive industry, following plans to submit a revised auto policy for Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval.

This was revealed in a statement signed by Ifedayo Sayo, senior assistant on media to Adeniyi Adebayo, FMITI Minister.

The statement revealed that the Minister said this while addressing the Senior Executive Course 45 participants of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) who paid a visit to the ministry.

Adebayo said the auto policy was reviewed with the objective of increasing local production of vehicles, adding that it will help the country transit from Semi Knock Down to Completely Knock Down/Completely Built Up manufacturing.

“The new policy also has as one of its objectives a plan to increase employment in the Automotive Value Chain; Apart from the auto policy, the ministry is also working on a new investment policy and a review of the current trade policy which it intends to conclude before the expiration of the Buhari administration,” it stated.

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Speaking on the Industrialisation, Climate Change and Energy Security in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Prospects, Adebayo said the Buhari administration has demonstrated in the last eight years, its determination to turn around the fortunes of the country from a dependence on oil to diversification of the economy, as evident through the adoption and implementation of robust policies such as the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).

“As part of the process of enhancing and fast tracking our mandate towards industrialization in this country, the ministry came up with the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), a ten (10) year Plan to be reviewed after five years; Its aim is to significantly raise manufacturing contribution to GDP which is based on priority sectors, where Nigeria has competitive and comparative advantage, these are Agriculture and Agro-allied Industries; Metals and Solid Minerals Industries; Oil and Gas Related Industries; Construction, Light Manufacturing and Services,” he said.

Adebayo stated that the NIRP currently under review was approved in 2014 but its implementation started in 2015 and, is designed to accelerate the build up of industrial capacity in Nigeria.

He said the ministry under him has recorded appreciable achievements in the implementation of the NIRP, especially in the development and implementation of some sectoral policies such as Backward Integration Program (BIP) in the Cement industry, the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP), the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) policy, Leather and Leather products policy as well as the Tomato Industry policy.

Highlighting other achievements recorded by the ministry under the BIP, he said Nigeria has witnessed increased investment in the Cement Industry, which has resulted in self sufficiency in Cement production locally with Nigeria now being a net exporter of cement, adding that the promotion of the sugar value chain has attracted more investors into the Sugar Industry with the goal of attaining self-sufficiency in sugar production.

“Revitalization of local Auto Assembly operations and enhancement of local content in the assembly of components in the Nigerian Automotive industry, Improved competitiveness in all segments of the Cotton, Textile and Garment sector, Post harvest losses of tomato fruits have been tremendously reduced; this has created increased investment in the value chain and boosted production in the tomato industry; and promotion and enhancement of investments in the industrial sector by the granting of concessions on importation of machinery and equipment that cannot be fabricated locally,” he added.