- FG Targets 400,000 Locally Assembled Vehicles
The Federal Government has set an annual target of about 400,000 vehicles to be produced locally by about 45 assembly plants it has so far approved as part of its policy to encourage the production of home-made automobiles.
This indication was given on Tuesday by the Acting Director-General, National Automotive Design and Development Council, Mr. Luqman Mamudu, in a telephone interview with our correspondent.
The Chairman, Automobile and Allied Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Oseme Oigiagbe, however, warned the government against what he called booby traps that could derail effective implementation of its auto policy.
This is coming a few days after Dangote Sinotruck West Africa Limited rolled out its first set of Chinese trucks from its Lagos factory and announced that it was assembling between four and five trucks per day at its plant.
Mamudu, who recalled that as of 2015, local vehicle production capacity was about 300,000 with utilisation put at 15 per cent, said, the installed capacity had improved with more firms getting the government’s nod to establish assembly plants.
He, however, said the operating capacity had suffered significantly because of shortage of foreign exchange and other unpleasant economic variables.
“With the entry of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, and Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company into the industry assembling Sino trucks and Shacman trucks, respectively, we have improved our installed capacity from about 300,000 to 400,000 vehicles per annum.
“More companies have received approval to assemble new brands in Nigeria. For instance, Globe Motors has signed an agreement with Hyundai Motors; Chief MKO Abiola’s son has also brought in a Chinese brand that will be assembled in the country and Weststar Associates is discussing with Fiat.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers has projected that the nation’s auto industry should produce about four million cars annually by 2050.
The Federal Government under Goodluck Jonathan introduced the auto policy in the last quarter of 2013, which included the imposition of 70 per cent tariff on imported cars and zero per cent on vehicles’ components imported by local assembly plants to encourage local production of automobiles.
But delivering this year’s Transport Day lecture in Lagos, Oigiagbe warned that until the auto industry was made a priority of the government, it might not achieve its set goals.
He spoke on ‘The Nigeria auto policy — moving forward or Stagnant’ and said that “the trust of the national automotive policy was to ensure the survival, growth of the Nigerian automotive industry using local, human and material resources. This is with a view to enhancing the industry’s contribution to the national economy, especially in the areas of transportation of people and goods.”
According to him, all 45 new licensed entrants are mostly Chinese companies, adding that the big firms such as General Motors, Toyota and Ford have not really embraced the project, “unlike South Africa where the like of GM, BMW, Ford Toyota and Volkswagen plants are established by the OEM as direct investment.”
He also noted that the project was mostly centred on Semi-Knocked Down simple operations with low value addition; little or no technology transfer and lack of structured distributor/dealer network to support after-sales.
Like Mamudu, Oigiagbe noted that the policy met a financial hurricane/recession with naira fall and the exchange rate/dollar scarcity.
He said there was a need to complete the ban on importation of used vehicles on the imposition of very high import tariff on them to discourage people from bringing them in.
He also said, “The policy needs to become an Act — passed into law by the National Assembly so that investor confidence can be guaranteed.”
COVID-19: CBN Has Disbursed N83B Loans to Healthcare Sector
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday, said the central bank had disbursed over N83.9 billion to pharmaceutical and healthcare practitioners in the country since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Also, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has stressed the need for a slash in the cost of governance in the country, saying a lot more resources could be dedicated towards healthcare and critical infrastructure.
They both said this yesterday, at the premiere of ‘Unmasked’, a documentary on Nigeria’s response to the pandemic held in Lagos.
Emefiele, who was represented by the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwasinobi, explained: “Building a robust healthcare infrastructure was also vital from a security perspective, as some nations had imposed restrictions on the exports of vital medical drugs as well as the use of drug patents that could aid in containing the spread of the pandemic.
“As a result, we focused our interventions in the healthcare sector on three areas. Building the capacity of our healthcare institutions supporting the domestic manufacturing of drugs by businesses, and providing grants to researchers in the medical field, in order to encourage them to develop breakthrough innovations that would address health challenges faced by Nigerians.
“In this regard, we disbursed over N83.9 billion in loans to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners, which is supporting 26 pharmaceutical and 56 medical projects across the country. We were also able to mobilise key stakeholders in the Nigerian economy through the CACOVID alliance, which led to the provision of over N25 billion in relief materials to affected households, and the set-up of 39 isolation centres across the country. These measures helped to expand and strengthen the capacity of our healthcare institutions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to the CBN Governor, the banking sector regulator also initiated the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Grant Scheme, which was to aid research on solutions that could address diseases such as COVID-19, and other communicable/non-communicable diseases.
He said so far, five major healthcare-related research projects were being financed under the initiative.
Speaking further on the call to increase access to health insurance, Emefiele said: “One key aspect which we would have to address is improving access to healthcare for all Nigerians. A key factor that has impeded access to healthcare for Nigerians is the prevailing cost of healthcare services.
“According to a study by World Health Organisation (WHO), only four percent of Nigerians have access to health insurance. Besides food, healthcare expenses are a significant component of average Nigeria’s personal expenditure.
“Out of pocket expenses on healthcare amount to close to 76 percent of total healthcare expenditure. At such levels of health spending, individuals particularly those in rural communities may be denied access to healthcare services.
“Expanding the insurance net to capture the pool of Nigerians not covered by existing health insurance schemes, could help to reduce the high out of pocket expenses on healthcare services by Nigerians. It will also help to increase the pool of funds that could be invested in building our healthcare infrastructure and in improving the existing welfare package of our healthcare workers.”
“The private sector has a significant role to play in this regard given the decline in government revenues as occasioned by the drop in commodity prices. Leveraging innovative solutions that can provide insurance services at relatively cheap prices could significantly help to improve access to healthcare for a large proportion of Nigerians particularly those in our rural communities.”
According to Emefiele, the CBN remains committed to working with all stakeholders in improving access to finance and credit that would support the development of viable healthcare infrastructure in our country.
On his part, Sanwo-Olu said: “What are the lessons that we have learned with the Covid-19? Looking at all the things that Covid-19 has cost us, how are we preparing ourselves?
“The truth be told the structure of our governance system needs to change particularly the cost of governance. We need to speak up and ask ourselves are we ready to change.”
“When it gets to the election it is the same set of people that will come up and people don’t come out to vote and we end up having 20 percent out of 100 percent that will elect those that will govern. So, the change has to be about all of us. That is how the real change that will help us will come,” he added.
Emefiele Says CBN Will Resist All Attempts to Continue Maize Importation
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has vowed to resist all attempts to continue the importation of maize into the country.
Godwin Emefiele, the governor, CBN, in a statement titled ‘Emefiele woos youths to embrace agriculture’, said: “the CBN would resist attempts by those who seek to continually import maize into the country.”
Emefiele, who spoke in Katsina during the unveiling of the first maize pyramid and inauguration of the 2021 maize wet season farming under the CBN-Maize Association of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, said maize farmers in the country had what it takes to meet the maize demand gap of over 4.5 million metric tonnes in the country.
“With over 50,000 bags of maize available on this ground, and others aggregated across the country, maize farmers are sending a resounding message that we can grow enough maize to meet the country’s demand,” Emefiele said.
He explained that the maize unveiled at the ceremony would be sold to reputable feed processors.
He added that this would in turn impact positively on current poultry feed prices, as over 60 per cent of maize produced in the country were used for producing poultry feed.
Nigeria’s Spending Structure Unsustainable, Budget Head Says
Nigeria’s current trend of spending more money on running the government than on building new infrastructure is unsustainable, the country’s top budget oversight official said.
Low revenue collection and high recurrent costs have resulted in actual capital expenditure below two trillion naira ($4.88 billion) a year for a decade, Ben Akabueze, director-general of the Budget Office, said Tuesday in a virtual presentation.
“Hence, the investments required to bridge the infrastructure gap are way beyond the means available to the government,” Akabueze said. Recurrent spending, allocated towards salaries and running costs, has accounted for more than 75% of the public budget every year since 2011, he said.
Africa’s largest economy requires at least $3 trillion of spending over the next 30 years to close its infrastructure gap, Moody’s Investors Service said in November. The country’s tax revenue as a proportion of gross domestic product is one of the lowest globally, according to the International Monetary Fund.
“Huge recurrent expenditure has constrained the provision of good roads, steady power supply, health care services, quality education and quality shelter,” Akabueze said.
Nigeria should amend its constitution to create six regions to replace the existing 36 states, which each have their own governments, Akabueze said. The country also needs to reduce the number of cabinet ministers to a maximum of 24 from more than 40 and cut federal ministries to fewer than 20 from the current 27, he said.
“No country can develop where a large part of its earnings is spent on administrative structures rather than on capital investment,” Akabueze said.
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