A major factor that has militated against the development of the sub-sector has been inadequate capitalization and funding. Apart from working capital requirements, a lot of forex is needed because currently more than 70% of the sector's material inputs are imported. The current high interest rate charged by Commercial banks makes long - term loans unattractive.
Applications of over N10.00 billion has been received from 63 companies since inception in 2004. They have been assessed and passed to the Bank of Industry for further financial assessments before final loan approval and disbursement. N9.98 billion has been disbursed to 27 companies. Loan application of N2.2 billion by 12 companies is under consideration.
SPECIALISED AUTO INDUSTRY RESEARCH FUND
The Council supports research work aimed at advancing the frontiers of technological development in the sub-sector. This is to be done by direct grant to related research project. Research would only be supported if the assessment panel finds that:
- It is relevant to the development of the automotive sector;
- It is technically feasible and have potential for commercialisation;
- The raw materials, infrastructure and relevant manpower to conduct the study are available.
The take-off of this scheme was advertised and many organizations have submitted R&D proposals for funding. These proposals are being assessed. A project, “The development of Production Tools for the Commercial Production of 3 HP Petrol Engine” submitted by Prof. A.O.A. Ibhadode of the University of Benin has been funded with N3.33585 million. Other applications are being assessed. A committee has been set up with the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) and other stakeholders to advice on research and development priorities in the automotive sector.
Berekotry Industries Nig. Ltd., was awarded a grant of N4.00 million for R&D to perfect the production of Auto lubricating grease of various grades from Hexose Cassava, petroleum oils and saponification materials in 2010.
INDUSTRIAL INFRASTRUCTURE SERVICES
Establishment of Automotive Test Centre
National Automotive Council (NAC) is to establish a test centre to achieve the following objectives:
- To ensure the safety and health of Nigerians
- To develop local automotive content
- To ensure the good operation and maintenance of Nigerian vehicles
- To obtain capability to conduct homologation tests
To achieve that objective, the NAC wants to establish the following laboratories:
- Component testing lab
- Automotive Materials Lab
- Emission testing lab
- Vehicle evaluation lab
- Fatigue/structural evaluation lab
- Power train evaluation lab
- Automotive electronics lab
- Noise/vibration lab
The feasibility study for the establishment of the test centre has been concluded and initial steps for its establishment started. Ninety-four (94) automotive safety standards have been developed with the Standards organization of Nigeria (SON) and other stakeholders.
Nigerian Vehicle Project
NAC has a programme for the design and prototyping of a low cost Nigerian vehicle. Activities under the programme this year include:
- Development of a Truck/Van
NAC is working with the Nigerian automotive Industry to develop a truck/van for the commercial use and passenger transport.
- Collaboration with Martaba Technologies
NAC is collaborating with Martaba Technologies to design and develop a van that will be well suited to Nigerian conditions.
- Programmes and Projects of the Centre for Automotive Design and Development (CADD)
The merger of the Council with CADD means that all the projects and programmes of CADD will now be borne by the fund. The main mandate of CADD is “to design, develop and test low cost vehicle prototypes”. Projects to be funded include the purchase of computer workstations, engineering design software and Computer Numerical Control Machines (CNC) machines.
Conduct of Industrial Environment Surveys, Sector Studies
This proposal was informed by the need for a thorough assessment of the automotive industrial environment, provision of technical and managerial assistance, etc. The projects/programmes are as follows:
- Organise Auto Workshop/Exhibition. A workshop would enable all the stakeholders to meet and discuss the best way to tackle the problems bedeviling the sub-sector. We plan to conduct a workshop on productivity at Nnewi this year.
- Establishment of a Data Bank for the Automotive Sector. The data bank will capture data on all imported and locally produced vehicles. It will be launched this year.
- Consumer vehicle Preference Survey. The Council has commissioned consultants to undertake a nationwide survey of consumer vehicle preferences. This would guide serve as a reference to all those who wish to produce a “Nigerian vehicle”.
- Project profiles on automotive parts and components. The Council has commissioned consultants to produce project profiles on bicycle, motorcycle and vehicle parts to serve as a guide to potential investors.
The Council trained mechanics on the new automotive technology (Mechatronics) in 2006 at Peugeot Automobile, Kaduna and at Mercedes-Benz ANAMMCO in 2007. That experience led to the conduction of a Skill Gap Assessment in the automotive maintenance and repair sector with the aim of developing a comprehensive training of trainers′ course for automotive master craftsmen in Nigeria. The major finding of the study is that 80% of the skill deficiencies of the Nigerian auto-technicians hinges mainly on the electrical/electronic systems of modern vehicles. 20% of the skill deficiencies are on incorrect work methods, safety and environment as well as poor workshop management and organizational ability. With other stakeholders, the Council is taking steps to remedy the situation by producing a modern curricula and training manual on automotive mechatronics.