‘2020 Finance Act will adversely affect Nigeria’s automotive programme’

Luqman Mamudu is the managing partner Transtech Industrial Consulting and a former director of Policy and Planning at the National Automotive Design and Development Council. He spoke to BusinessDay’s HARRISON EDEH on how the new Finance Act could weaken the National Automotive Programme.


There has been serious concern on the Finance bill slashing down import duty on used vehicles; what is your take on this on the automotive policy?

The 2020 Finance act simply cancelled the Nigeria Automotive Programme (NAIDP) 6 years into its 10-year life span. The concern is genuine because the act simply opened up Nigeria for uncontrollable import of fully built up New and pre-owned automobiles from other economies including her brother African countries. It’s a strange decision. I am still struggling to come to terms with it. It’s difficult.

The Vice President pointed out that the policy was made on the back of paltry production of 14 000 vehicles by Nigeria’s auto plants; do you share in this assertion and what could the government have done differently if you may advice?

These are the lies that they fed the Vice President. The issue is that there are certain powerful interests bent on sustaining the age old inflow of built up automobiles into this country. They’ve always seen the NAIDP as an affront on their personal interests and we resisted them throughout our tenor. Unfortunately, when we left, those who took over from us weren’t that vigilant. Some of us tried to warn them but they see us busy bodies. The assembly sector of Nigeria including the six plants privatised by government, assembled less than 1,200 vehicles annually (mostly by PAN and Innoson) before 2013 when the policy was launched. As at today total output is about 15,000 units of automobiles, 3000 employed and over $billion USD additional investment has been made with footprint of global brands like HONDA, NISSAN, FORD, KIA. SINO-TRUCK, MAN DIESEL, YUTONG BUSES to mention but a few on ground with a combined capacity of 500,000 automobiles per annum. You tell me there is no impact? What impact do you need when all the hitherto moribund original six assembly plants privatised by government has been revitalised with the exception of Styr Bauchi. Automotive investment is capital intensive and long term-oriented. Six years is like early morning in the industry lifespan of an automotive programme. The VP was misinformed. I know he was with us on the policy when I was there. He is in government and must support its policy. I understand.

Some industry experts are of the view that the government should have offered loan facility for local manufacturing plants to expand their production instead of cutting down import duty; what is your take on this?

The banks are there to give loans. What government needed to do and which is part of the programme has been jettisoned. That is provision of vehicles Asset Acquisition cheap loans. We were ready to launch when suddenly someone cancelled it…the same powerful interests. The levy collected was meant to Finance this scheme. I wonder what will happen to monies collected now. This would have enabled Nigeria acquire vehicles built in Nigeria by the global OEMS here to drive demand. Nigeria problem is long term money to buy vehicles and pay gradually. Until you have this, you can reduce tariff to 0%, Nigerians still won’t be able to acquire new vehicles- individuals and haulage firms alike. It looks like we are doomed to rely on condemned second vehicles imports forever. There is even no age limit. Vehicle manufacturers worldwide are looking for where to dump vehicles that have come to end-of-life and we open up our land to them?

There are also concerns that Nigeria is not maximising the full potential of the auto sector in creating jobs in the value chain, do you share in this view, and what can we do differently?

To expand capacity utilisation in the Nigeria assembly plants, you first have to satisfy those against the policy. They are those who are angered by having to pay too much for the import of brand new choice cars because they all have become too expensive. Never mind that they are rich-they don’t like it. I know. In any case, we can’t make these vehicles here for now. They can be allowed to bring them in duty-free so they can let us be. They only deceived government that they are concerned about masses and recommend slashing commercial vehicles import to 5% from 35% but their target is to remove levy of 35% on import of new choice car imports. After all there is no levy on second hand vehicles imports and local assemblers can make new mid level cars easily. In fact they have unsold stock. Honda, Innoson, Coscharis all have huge inventory of unsold new automobiles. Innoson has over 4000 new cars selling for less than N5m unsold. Once government provides credit purchase funds, assembly utilisation capacity and demand in Nigeria will skyrocket. There have been intervention funds for every sector in Nigeria except automobiles. Did they offend government? Such a fund will be an ENABLER and will endear this government to Nigerians. If capacity grows, the present 3000 employed will also grow in number but as it is now, the new Finance bill will drive them out of employment.

If the government would reconsider rethinking the policy; what would you advise them to do differently now?

Government should simply carry out a transparent review of the policy implementation so far and chart a way forward. Cancellation is not and shouldn’t be an option. It’s totally unacceptable especially with AfCFTA in force. We cannot leave our boarders open for inflow of fully built new and old vehicles into Nigeria. We pose a threat to the rest of Africa more serious about pursuing the ideal of intra Africa trade. The review report will enable government restrategise on how to address the weaknesses in the implementation processes. NAIDP still have 4 years to go. Why vacate it so suddenly on the basis of dubious statistics. Who provided it? Certainly not NADDC. The programme doing so well. You don’t take figures out of context. I just left the launch of Geely vehicles in Nigeria. The minister of industry was there. I met him and he informally invited me to join his technical team on the policy review. I intend to take up the invitation.

Any suggestions on how to use the sector to grow and expand the economy especially now Nigeria has signed into the commitment of the AfCFTA?

Like I said, if we must take advantage of our membership of AfCFTA, we have to consolidate our position as an automotive hub in Africa. We have the market. The only way is to grow our local content. Unfortunately, the 2020 Finance Act is hostile to spare parts production locally- you can import them freely. By the rules of origin, we cannot export automotive products into the rest of Africa if we don’t achieve minimum 30% local content. How can you do that under this new act.? We have to work with government to quickly address this anomaly.


2021 Volkswagen Golf debuts with additional natural gas-powered variant

The eighth-generation of the popular Volkswagen Golf compact car has just been unveiled with options including a CNG-powered variant. Read more!

The latest generation of the world’s best-selling Volkswagen Golf compact car has just been unveiled with interesting options. This new 2021 model of the VW Golf is generously offered with an additional option of a TGI variant that is powered by natural gas (CNG). This is really good news for customers in countries like Nigeria that is making a shift towards adopting CNG-powered cars.


Meet the 2021 Volkswagen Golf compact car that recently debuted with an extra CNG-powered variant

The fact that German automaker, Volkswagen, is offering a natural gas-powered variant of the 2021 VW Golf model seems to be a clear indication that electric cars and CNG-powered vehicles are the new future. This falls in line with new reforms and laws that are now being imposed all over the world against environmental pollution caused by CO2 emissions from cars. It has been discovered that compressed natural gas (CNG) is not only safer for the environment but also cheaper as fuel for vehicles than petrol or diesel fuel.

Talking about the gas-powered TGI variant of the latest 2021 Volkswagen Golf compact car, it is exciting to know that customers will get a decent 400km (250 miles) range on a full tank. Below is a highlight of some technical details of this particular variant:

  • 1.5-litre moderate TSI engine that outputs 128hp (130ps)
  • A CNG-powered engine that decently consumes between 9.5 to 9 pounds (4.3 – 4.1 kg) of natural gas per 62 miles (100km) with just 117 – 111 gram/km of CO2 emission
  • Total natural gas tank capacity is 30.4 gallons (115 litres) and weighs 38 pounds (17.3 kg)
  • Additional gasoline (petrol or diesel) tank of 2.4 gallons (9 litres) capacity

>>> Interesting read: All 12 Volkswagen car brands and how the auto giant acquired each one

To get a closer look at the exterior and interior design of the new 2021 VW Golf model, watch this video below.

  2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI – Headlights, taillights and Interior design


Nissan is offering free test drives of Toyota Rav4 to sell its new Rogue SUV

Nissan shows confidence in its new 2021 Rogue SUV model by offering potential buyers a free test drive of its top competitor, the Toyota RAV4. Read more!

This is definitely not the kind of news you often hear because it sounds somehow strange and funny to even imagine in the first place. Believe it or not, reputable sources have confirmed that the popular Japanese automaker Nissan will offer free “test drives” of the Toyota RAV4 SUV just to prove that its new 2021 Nissan Rogue is better. So much confidence, isn’t it?


It has been confirmed that Nissan will be offering “free” test drive of Toyota RAV4 to potential buyers of its new 2021 Rogue SUV

Popular media outlets describe this move by Nissan as one that is very risky but also say the automaker is expecting that most of its U.S dealers will embrace the unconventional marketing strategy. These reputable media outlets claim that they were able to confirm the news update through a leaked video message from Judy Wheeler, the Vice President of Sales & Regional Operations for Nissan Motors. The reportedly “leaked” video message prompted inquiries which resulted in Judy Wheeler confirming the development himself. He was quoted telling reporters that when anybody test drives the 2021 Nissan Rogue versus similar vehicles from top competitors, they would end up buying from Nissan because the Rogue is far better.

On the flip side of this interesting news update, Toyota has commented by saying that they are “flattered” by Nissan’s strategy. Bob Carter, the Chief of Sales at Toyota Motors claim that the company is confident in the versatility, value, safety features, and quality of its RAV4 model which has remained the best-selling compact SUV in the U.S.

>>> Read also: Nissan NV400 sets to become the first electric ambulance in Japan

If you are interested in hearing some auto experts compare the 2021 Nissan Rogue with the Toyota RAV4 SUV, then watch this short video below.

How does the ALL-NEW 2021 Nissan Rogue COMPARE to RAV4 & CR-V?? | Comparison and First Look


Stallion Motors’ Hyundai to Bring Nigeria’s First Electrical Car

Stallion Motors, Nigeria’s leading auto assembler and franchisee of nine global brands, including Hyundai, has hinted they would launch into the Nigerian market Hyundai – Kona, an Electric car.
As things stand, before the year 2020 runs out, Nigeria would officially join the rest of the world in embracing electric cars, the company said.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Anant Badjatya, recently hinted of their plan to officially launch the Electric car regarded by European motoring journalists as world’s number one.
“Well-meaning and concerned people globally are urgently making moves to save our dear planet,” explained Mr. Badjatya. “After operating successfully in Nigeria for over five decades, the least our company could give back to the country and by extension, the world is to be a leading pilot in steering the nation to the direction of clean energy use and reduction of emission.
“Not being dissuaded by the nation’s infrastructural challenges, one of our plans for this year is to introduce into the country Electric Vehicle (EV) and, in no distant future, embark on attitude change campaign for a clean environment in conjugation with Hyundai.”
Stallion Motors understands that climate change is for real. The changes in global temperature and weather patterns seen today are caused by human activity. They are happening much faster than the natural climate variations of the past. World over industries have started recognising this and are making the switch towards sustainable means of doing business and adopting technology with less environmental impact.
Responding to the problem, therefore, auto users around the world are, speedily, replacing internal combustion engine-powered vehicles with Electric Vehicles (EVs), which generate no pollutant. Like dry season wild fire, the revolution is moving with speed.
Versatile and powerful, the Hyundai KONA Electric will be the first All-Electric SUV in Nigeria. Its power packed performance will provide a thrilling driving experience with high acceleration over long distances. Driving range for Kona Electric is 482 km with an acceleration of (0-100kms) in 9.7 secs. The ease of charging is unmatched, one can even plug it in at home or at work and charge it for 9.35 hrs for a full battery capacity. Hyundai Kona comes with a 5 years of battery warranty and 5 years of vehicle warranty. KONA Electric will change the way people think about going electric. It would make history as first EV to in Nigeria with local manufacturing.
“Is Nigeria Ready?
While putting finishing touches to the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) for passage into law, the federal government of Nigeria, February 2019, laid bare interest in EV technology by assigning University of Nigeria, Nnsuka (UNN), University of Lagos, Usman Dan Fodio University and Metrological Institute for design and production of a made-in-Nigeria electric car.
Less than a year after (July 2019), UNN announced completion of an EV put together with 80 per cent local content.
Representing the federal government at the unveiling ceremony of the car, the Director General of National Automotive Design and Development Council, Mr. Jelani Aliyu, did not only commend the institution for the achievement, but also expressed President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s resolve to support any company willing to invest in local manufacturing of electric vehicles.
Also in his keynote address at an annual event of the Nigeria Auto Journalists Association held recently in Lagos, Aliyu described the EV technology as good news for Nigeria.
“To tap from the trend,” Aliyu explained, “We have met and discussed with both electric vehicle and charging station manufacturers in China and Germany towards the pilot program.”
It would also be recalled that Nigerian government, not long ago, signed an MOU with Volkswagen, Europe’s largest auto manufacturer and leading investor electric vehicles, to produce vehicles in Nigeria.
Last Words
Apart from initial cost of purchase, EVs attract minimal running cost. For instance, Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, has reportedly acquired his very first electric car, which happens to be Porsche Taycan, the one that Stallion Group plans to launch in Nigeria soon after Hyundai Kona.
Currently, Nigerian electricity consumers resident in accommodation categorised under R1 are charged only N4 per kilowatt. That implies, when Hyundai Kona goes on sale in Nigeria, its owner would incur only N316 (N4x79kWat) to get a full charge, if he or she plugs the car onto public power supply.
When Stallion Group eventually fulfils its plan in the next two months, Hyundai Kona, which around the world, is already being rated above its counterparts, in terms of performance, would make history as first EV to officially go on sale in Nigeria with local manufacturing.
And without doubt, if the world trend is talk and love for fast, powerful and easier-to-maintain automobiles that are fit for a green planet, Nigerians are ready and itching to join. And courtesy of Stallion Group, year 2020 could be the beginning.


Mitsubishi Motors, She Leads Africa Collaborate to Support Women in Nigeria’s Corporate World

Massilia Motors Nigeria, the sole distributor of Mitsubishi Motors in Nigeria and a joint venture of the CFAO Group and the Chanrai Group, in conjunction with She Leads Africa, a community that helps young African women achieve their professional dreams, organised a private evening of networking and learning tagged, ‘Drive Your Ambition’ to celebrate women leading corporate Nigeria.

Drive Your Ambition, which took place at the Mitsubishi Motors showroom in Victoria Island, brought together a myriad of senior executive Nigerian women from different sectors of the economy under one roof to share and learn from each other.

The opening note was given by Funmi Abiola, Head of Marketing and Communications for Massilia Motors, who shed more light on the ‘Drive Your Ambition’ tagline which was created in 2017 when Mitsubishi Motors turned 100 years old. The event is a continuation of their efforts to support Nigerian’s breaking grounds in various industries.

The session officially kicked-off with a few words from the Co- Founder of She Leads Africa, Afua Osei. Osei in her welcome address highlighted the importance of networking and encouraged attendees to partake in a bonding session. The goal of the session was for the attendees to meet new people with experiences similar or different to theirs

Speakers at the event were three senior level female corporate executives including Amuche Okeke-Agba, a partner in McKinsey & Company’s Lagos office who co-leads the recovery & transformation services practice for McKinsey in West Africa; Ijeoma Agboti-Obatoyinbo, the Managing Director / CEO of FBNQuest Funds Ltd, and lastly, Ugochi Agoreyo, a Partner Development Senior Specialist for West Africa at SAP.

The panel was moderated by Abosede George-Ogan, Director, Strategy, Partnerships and Stakeholder Management at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund. The women spoke of their experiences gained in the course of their careers, the challenges they have faced and the lessons learnt from those challenges.

The three key pieces of advice that were shared at Drive Your Ambition for career building were:

  • Get help: Always make sure you rely on your network of mentors and peers.
  • Visibility is very important: Go the extra mile with your work, do the little extra that makes things better and get noticed for your good work!
  • Don’t burn bridges: It’s important to strive for clean exits so you can keep increasing the network of people you have access to.

The goal of the event was to motivate more women across the country to find success in their chosen career paths and continue to drive their ambition.

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Coscharis Assures of Enhanced Ford Products in Nigerian Auto Market

Nigeria’s auto market will continue to have its share of Ford Motor Company’s enhanced new products, Coscharis Motors, the auto company’s sole representative in the country, has said.

General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communications Coscharis Group, Abiona Babarinde stated this while welcoming guests to the launch of the new Ford Edge into the Nigerian automobile market, at the 2019 Abuja International Motor Fair.

Babarinde noted that Ford has continued to thrill the world with enhanced new products, employing deep rooted research into the desires of automobile consumers around the globe. “We at Coscharis will always see to it that our market never misses the opportunity to get its fair share of such highly innovative products.

“Inside and outside, Ford has added new aesthetic and functional features to make the new Edge a class leader. Behold the freshened fascia, wider grille and redesigned hood of the new Edge that helps it cast a more planted stance on the road; the low- and high-beam bi-LED headlamps that illuminate your view; the Sparkle Silver painted Aluminum wheels that fill the wells for a solid finish; and the 4-wheel disc Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) that helps bring them to a halt.”

Also, there is the Ford Co-Pilot360™, a suite of driver-assist technologies like Intelligent Access to get you in, Push-Button Start to get your engine going, and the new rotary gearshift dial to make it happen. This unique feature now comes standard on all new EDGE derivatives.

Depending on the variant of the new Edge you decide to choose, you will find all the above mentioned sophisticated features and more. Little wonder, we love to describe the new 2019 Ford Edge as an upscale sport utility vehicle (SUV) defined by modern sophistication.

Babarinde said, “With this launch today, Coscharis has once again enlarged the coast for SUV vehicles and increased the options for our customers to choose from a wide range of Ford SUVs, including Expedition, Explorer, Escape, EcoSport and now, the new Edge.”

The new 2019 Ford Edge upscale sport utility vehicle (SUV) is defined by modern sophistication. Athletic new front and rear styling reaches its ultimate expression – an exhilarating 250 horsepower of performance-enhanced pleasure.

Maximize space – never compromise on comfort

With its rear 60:40 split seat folded flat, the new EDGE converts to a cargo hauler with ease. A convenient EasyFold® seat release for the rear seat lets you maximize cargo space with the touch of a button. Fold both sides of the seat back down for large objects. Or leave one side up to carry cargo and passengers side by side. And if your hands are full as you approach the rear liftgate, just kick your foot under the rear bumper. The hands-free foot-activated liftgate will rise on its own. This new EDGE is as versatile as you are.

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The story behind Mercedes-Benz logo

Mercedes-Benz logo is as gorgeous and timeless as its brand and vehicles.

A car logo is more than the carmaker identity. And Mercedes-Benz logo is not just showing us a three-pointed star. Stories behind car logos are always interesting and today, will share the story of the renowned luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz logo

Mercedes-Benz logo is not just showing us a three-pointed star

Mercedes Benz Logo Animation

As seen in the picture, the first edition of Mercedes logo is simple with the word “Mercedes” bordered by an ellipse. This logo appeared for the first time on vehicles produced by Daimler in 1902.

Mercedes-Benz logo history

Mercedes-Benz logo is as gorgeous and timeless as its brand and vehicles

Seven years later, the German marque introduced its new logo which was a glorious golden three-pointed star designed by Deutz Technical Director Gottlieb Daimler. Interestingly, the badge was drawn on a postcard sent to his wife in 1872 with his vow that one day, the image would become the symbol of an automobile giant.

In 1916, that star (painted white) was put into a circle together with 4 little starts above and “Mercedes” circumscription on its bordure. Before, also in 1909, a quite strange logo was also presented as you find in the photo.

Mercedes-Benz logo

Daimler vowed that one day, the three-pointed star would become the symbol of an automobile giant

After the merge of Benz and Daimler in 1926 which marked the inception of Mercedes-Benz, the actual trademark was finally created. Still the familiar three-pointed star, but the logo was sided by laureate wreath and the brand name. Since then the Mercedes logo has undergone minor modifications and the laureate wreath has been simplified by an unpretentious circle as seen in today’s models.

We have repeatedly mentioned the star on Mercedes logo, so are you curious about the meaning of the star points? In point of fact, they represent the brand’s domination of the land, sea and air since Mercedes vehicles can challenge all these three environments. For years, the three-pointed star badge has been placed on Mercedes-Benz cars as the company’s statement about reliability, conservatism, class-leading performance and breakthrough engineering as well.

Mercedes-Benz logo

After the merge of Benz and Daimler in 1926, the actual emblem was finally created

Speaking of Mercedes-Benz’s life journey, as noted above, it was officially founded in 1926 when Mercedes united in Benz & Cie. The brand is named after an Austrian car seller and racer’s daughter Emil Jellinek.

>>> Read more: Geely acquires a 10% stake in Mercedes-Benz

By the end of the ‘60s, Mercedes-Benz earned the recognition in automotive world. In 1973 when the global economy is wrecked by the “first oil crisis,” car sales of most brands went into free fall. However, in response to that situation, the German company launched the most reliable mode serious of its own history – the Mercedes-Benz W123.

In early 1980s, Mercedes-Benz forayed into new segment – off-highway trucks with the Gelandewagem off-roader which brought the company much fame for reliability and all-terrain.

Mercedes AMG logo

Mercedes-Benz bought AMG in 1999

In the last year of the 20th century, with Mercedes mastering AMG – its official tuning company, luxury variations of some Mercedes series were built and most importantly, its first-ever racing car – the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR was made.

Mercedes-Benz logo and slogan

Mercedes-Benz has been putting more effort into work under the slogan “The best or nothing” 

Nowadays, the car giant keeps introducing new flagship vehicles and tirelessly improving its state-of-the-art technologies and design language at the same time. Mercedes-Benz has been putting more effort into work under the slogan “The best or nothing.” The company, undoubtedly, has ruled the auto world, setting the high standard for itself and even turning the head of other automakers.


‘Nigerians can own a car with government support, finance scheme’

A proper vehicle finance scheme with government support for the establishment of more assembly plants in the country will avail the average Nigerian the opportunity to own a car, an automobile expert, Oluwatobi Ajayi, has said.

Ajayi said setting up an assembly plant involves huge capital investment, and with the government’s assistance would solve Nigeria’s vehicular and mobility needs for both the low and middle-income earners, including corporate organisations, to buy and use brand new vehicles.

The Director-General, National Automotive Design, and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu, had earlier said a total of nine auto manufacturing companies are currently assembling vehicles in Nigeria.

The development came about two years after the Council’s confirmation of its approval of 45 companies that signified interest in building vehicle assembly plants in Nigeria, following the Federal Government’s introduction of an auto policy to discourage importation of fully-built vehicles.

However, he said the Automotive Industry Development Bill, which was passed by the eighth National Assembly, was still awaiting the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Stakeholders believe that the bill if signed into law would transform the automotive industry, and attract the needed foreign direct investment into auto businesses and allied sectors. They also harped on the need to address Nigeria’s harsh business environment and infrastructure challenges.

Ajayi, who doubles as the Chairman and Chief Executive of Nord Automobiles Limited, also canvassed the government’s support for the industry to revolutionise the automotive sector.

Addressing journalists on the debut of the Nord Assembly Plant on social media recently, he described the firm as a brand that takes the need of the Nigerian environment into consideration during the assembly of vehicles.

He disclosed that the journey to the realisation of the plant, followed several inspection visits, series of discussions, and subsequent approvals from the relevant supervising Federal Government’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

These include the federal ministry of trade and investment, the NADDC, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

He listed the models that will be rolling out of the new assembly plant to include the Nord Tank Pick-up, Max Pick-up, Flit bus, Aso truck, Lasgi big bus, A3 sedan, A5 SUV, Yarn family/business shuttle, Tripper bus, Bolt bus, Ben SUV, Urban sedan among many others that are in the pipeline. The mission of the company he disclosed is to “grow together efficiently” with the economy and people of Nigeria.

All the vehicles being offered he assured are durable and elegant, and yet competitively priced. They have a low total cost of ownership compared to the competition. That is why we are confident that the Nord vehicles would soon be a household name in Nigeria.

The company’s operations focus on delivering quality expertise in the value chain of the entire auto assemblage which includes the design, sourcing, development, assembling, distribution, marketing, provision of sales, and after-sales service of their unique Nigerian branded automobiles.

In terms of foreign partnerships, Nord Company is collaborating with some of the biggest automotive firms in Europe and Asia, which offers the company an edge in its pursuit to deliver durable, safe, reliable, and affordable vehicles for Nigerians and give buyers of the brand good value for money.

With a mission to roll out a wholly Nigerian model of cars, for Nigerians and assembled by Nigerians, the plant is located on a 2,100 square meters of land space in Sangotedo in Lagos, while and another one recently acquired and occupying 3,400 square meters of land at Epe is currently undergoing construction for the assembly complex in readiness to meet the growing automotive market and increasing customer demand.

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Lagos to tackle truck drivers menace with ember months campaign

Ahead of the ember months, the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), has expressed its readiness to tackle the menace of truck drivers even as it is set to commence state-wide sensitisation exercise for commercial drivers and other road users.

The programme, an advocacy approach, would address more of truck/tanker driver education, basic training on road traffic rules, safety measures and precautions, the negative effect of overloading, and speed limitation during the ember months.

In line with the directives of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, the Service vowed to restore sanity to Lagos roads.

Director, VIS, Akin-George Fashola, said the marching orders of the Governor would check unwholesome activities of trucks; tankers, trailers and rickety vehicles such as Danfo, buses, and others.

Fashola also warned sellers of intoxicants such as drugs and liquor in truck/trailer parks in the state to desist from such acts, as the Service was determined to put an end to drug and alcohol-related road accidents.

He warned the drivers to desist from patronizing the ‘paraga’ sellers, to prevent them from losing focus and enable them to concentrate while on the road.

He explained that starting off the sensitization programme early is to create awareness, and put the drivers in the right frame of mind; which in effect would result in zero level traffic mishaps during the ember months.

The Service, according to the Director, would emphasize drivers’ education, vehicle maintenance culture, safety measures, effects of fatigue/stress on drivers, and the need to be alert while driving.

“This message would gradually cover all road users in the state before the December 2020/January 2021 festive period.”

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AAM, Deloitte present Africa’s first automotive forum

Africa has the potential to become the world’s next automotive industry powerhouse. The opportunities are there – with a young, growing population and rapid urbanisation across the continent. But how can this potential be unlocked? What obstacles does the continent face in growing vehicle demand and becoming a true industry competitor? And how can regions unite to write the legislation that could see hundreds of thousands of jobs created?

These are just some of the questions that will be the focus of the upcoming virtual conference series, the AAAM Africa Automotive Forum, hosted by the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM) and presented by Deloitte. Expert stakeholders from across the world will be providing their insight at panel discussions, that seek to unpack how Africa can jumpstart its automotive industry.

His Excellency Alan Kyerematen , Minister of Trade and Industry, Ghana will give a keynote address and Mike Whitfield, AAAM President, Chairman of Nissan Group of Africa and Managing Director of Nissan Egypt will lead a discussion on enabling government policy with automotive industry practitioners including, Masa Sugano, Deputy Executive Director, Africa Region of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Mike Mabasa , Chief Executive Officer of National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), and Anthony Black, Professor in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town.

Among other speakers, AAAM members including Renai Moothilal, Executive Director of National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) and Dr. Markus Thill, President Region Africa of BOSCH Group, together with Thomas Schaefer, former AAAM President and Chief Executive Officer of ŠKODA Auto a.s, will discuss unlocking the economic benefits of regional value chains. Further, AAAM members including, Simphiwe Nghona, Group Head for Vehicle and Asset Finance (VAF) of Standard Bank, Yves Nono, Vice President – Mobility Solutions Sales of BOSCH, Gerhard Botha, General Manager of Toyota South Africa Motors, together with Ridwan Olalere, Country Director for Uber, Nigeria will discuss driving affordability and mobility solutions in Africa. Serge Kamuhinda, Director at Volkswagen Rwanda will share a case study on the Volkswagen Business Case in Rwanda.

“The opportunities for growth are there, but there are still challenges across Africa. This conference is about unpacking those issues, finding solutions, and lighting the way to ensure our shared vision for the continent is achieved,” said Dr Martyn Davies, Managing Director of Emerging Markets and Africa at Deloitte and who will be facilitating the sessions.
Dialogue throughout the conference will be split between three major themes.

Regional Value Chains
The plethora of fragmented, small automotive production facilities rather than a singular force across the continent appears to be the result of ineffective automotive policies, with only Morocco and South Africa standing out as having fully fledged industries.

“However, even these two countries are heavily reliant on the export of high-volume models to non-African markets, though the long-term sustainability of this is questionable,” said Dave Coffey, CEO of AAAM. One of the solutions to this is the development of a pan-African automotive sector with the establishment of assembly nodes/hubs in the South, West, East and North of Africa and a spread of value adding activity (e.g. component manufacture) to neighbouring economies based on their resources or comparative industrial advantages.

Partnerships between countries have been key to the development of auto industries across the world; this facilitates scale which is necessary in this globally competitive industry.
“Not every African country is able to grow and industrialise a fully-fledged automotive industry sector. So, beyond these hubs, we need to build a hub and spoke model, where a hub such as Kenya, for example, can be supported by a supply spoke in a neighbouring country,” said Davies.

Enabling policy through government
A lack of political will can be the death knell for any industry, which is why Coffey believes that it’s time for automotive sector across the continent to push for legislative change, much like what has recently been seen in Ghana. The Ghana Automotive Development Policy, through its Ministry of Trade and Industry has already laid the way for the country to become a fully integrated and competitive industrial hub in West Africa. However, other countries are failing to realise the potential benefits, and are focusing more on the imported, used vehicle industry.

“The political will to support the significant medium-term economic and good job creation benefits of an effective auto industry is often overshadowed by the short term gains of customs revenue for imported used vehicles – when duty is actually paid,” said Coffey. To create a cross-continental industry, getting governments on board to support legislation that elicits investor confidence is paramount.

“The pending African Continental Free Trade Agreement could hold much promise for deeper value chain creation for the automotive value chain creation going forward,” said Davies.

Driving affordability
Creating vehicle demand is about affordability, because for many Africans consumers, the high cost of new vehicles is the main obstacle to ownership. Poor infrastructure and high logistics costs do not support a competitive value chain, but this can be changed with enough political will. “This could include effective polices for financial institutions that supports affordable asset-based vehicle financing and alternate mobility solutions that stimulate demand,” said Coffey.

“Prices are also inflated by bad infrastructure and taxation, so the first step is to reduce this dramatically – as we’ve seen in Ghana. –The importation of pre-owned, dumped and unroadworthy vehicles, needs to be controlled through legislation that protects the consumer and the local economy,” said Davies.

Interest rates on new vehicles also remain an obstacle for prospective buyers.
“In Africa, you generally have interest rates above 20%, and that’s not affordable. It is important that we explore solutions with governments. The question is, how can we work with financial institutions and the value chain to offer interest rates of 10% or less? That is fundamental to driving affordability,” said Coffey.

“We hope that the African Automotive Forum can be a platform that allows us to find solutions to these burning questions, by bringing together some of the industry’s greatest minds and using their lessons and applying it to the African context,” said Davies.

“This conference, in partnership with AAAM, is yet another strategic initiative to promote the automotive industry and automotive industrialisation in Africa” he concluded.

Adopted from