The Federal Government and Volkswagen Group at the weekend sealed an automotive development Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which aims at developing a joint vision for an automotive hub in the country.

Dr Okey Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment
Dr Okey Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment

While the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okey Enelamah, signed the deal on behalf of the Nigerian Government, Volkswagen’s Head of the Sub-Saharan Region, Thomas Schaefer, signed the agreement on behalf of his group.

According to the terms of the MoU, Volkswagen Group is to undertake the implementation of a phased approach in relation to the assembly of vehicles, initially from assembly kits with the long-term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub in the West African sub-region.

The partners are also to establish a training academy which will train the initial employees just as the academy will also provide broader technical training in automotive skills. The MoU is also intended to ensure that a comprehensive Volkswagen vehicle and service network is developed in the country subject to commercial viability.

A statement issued by the Strategy and Communications Adviser to the minister, Bisi Daniels, indicated that the MoU also provided that Nigerian Government would be committed to finalising the approval of the Nigerian Automotive Policy currently under consideration, including the gradual transition from the importation of used cars to the manufacture and distribution of new passenger vehicles.

The government is also, based on the terms of the MoU, committed to providing a conducive legislative environment that will encourage the manufacturing of motor vehicles in the country.

Commenting on the deal, Enalemah said: “The MoU is a major step in our journey towards the development of a robust automotive industry to achieve its potential contribution to the continuous economic development of the country.

“We believe in the strategic and catalytic role of the automotive industry in the diversification of the Nigerian economy, and we remain committed to encouraging and partnering relevant stakeholders, especially investors and friends of Nigeria.

”We will meet our commitments and look forward to welcoming other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) interested in working with us to increase local production, local procurement, and exports”, Enelamah added.