(PILOT) Not less than $300m investments are being targeted by the federal government into the automotive industry in 2015, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga has said. Aganga, while speaking at a public forum in Abuja, informed that the number of investments that went into the automotive industry in 10 years was $62million but attracted about $150million in less than one year.
"In order to reverse the ugly trend by diversifying our economic and revenue base, President Jonathan in February 2013, launched the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) as a major game-changer. "This was based on the principle that no nation has successfully moved from being a poor to rich nation without a robust industrial and services sector.
In 2011, we did not have a comprehensive automotive policy on the ground. "Today, in the automotive sector, over 22 companies have signed technical commitments to manufacturing or assembling cars in Nigeria. By early next year, some of them will be in the country", he stressed. The minister added, "The number of automotive test laboratories were nil in 2011, but today we have three.
The number of universities offering automotive engineering were nil but today we have about four of them. The manufacturing capacity utilization for the automotive sector has also gone up by 40 per cent". He also disclosed that the government had attracted new private sector investment worth $7billion into the cement sector within the last three years, adding that a new anti competition policy that would provide a level playing field for all investors in the country would soon be rolled out.
"In 2011, the installed capacity in the cement sector was 16.5 million metric tons per year. Today it is 39.5 million metric tons. When we came in, there were about $9 billion investment in the cement sector but today it is more than $15billion.
"In 2011, the direct and indirect jobs from the cement sector was less than 600, today the sector provides about 2.2 million direct and indirect jobs. We spent at least $5.2 million in the importation of cement but since 2013, the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has not issued any import license. "Our main focus for the cement sector, going forward, are to improve the standard of cement and to bring the price down.
Cement manufacturers must do it because we do not do price regulation. "There was announcement a few days ago that one of the cement manufacturers is bringing down the price of its 32.5 by 40 per cent from N1,700 per bag to N1,000. The 42.5 is coming down from around N1,800 to about N1, 150 per bag", he stressed.
The minister went further, "There has been complaints about what is happening in the sector. Nigerians should not worry because we know what we are doing. We have a competition policy, we have anti-trust law that we are looking at and we have competition Bill that is going to the National Assembly". "We will make sure that industrialists and investors across the country continue to have the confidence that everyone will play on a level playing ground", he added.
Aganga said President Jonathan had initiated and implemented far-reaching industrial policies which have helped to diversify the nation's economic and revenue base; attract fresh foreign direct investment, created employment and increased the capacity utilization of key manufacturing sectors of the economy. "In the sugar industry, the number of jobs in 2011 before President Goodluck Jonathan's administration is about 180,000. Investment in sugar cane was $100m but today it N3.2billion", he added.