Abuja - The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday in Abuja approved the Automotive Industry Development Plan for the development of the nation’s automotive industry.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, told State House correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, that the plan was expected to attract investment to the sector.
According to him, a transformed automotive industry will realise its potential as a major driver of economic growth and diversification, job creation, local value addition, and technology acquisition.
"The most important discussion which took most of our time was the presentation to Council of a broad policy plan to develop the Nigerian automotive industry.
"This Plan, which is part of the Ministry’s industrial revolution plan that had earlier been approved, is aimed at ensuring increased flow of investment for the development of the automotive industry in Nigeria," he said.
He said FEC also approved that henceforth, government would purchase vehicles from the assembly plants in the country "unless it is of specialised nature and National Automotive Council (NAC) has certified that it is not produced in Nigeria."
Maku added that the council approved that the recommendations on the local purchase of vehicles be backed by appropriate legislation to reassure investors that there would be no abrupt change in policy.
Commenting on the Automotive Development Policy, the Minister of Trade and Investments, Olusegun Aganga, said it was unfortunate that not less than N550 billion was spent by Nigerians on the importation of vehicles in 2012.
He said that Nigeria spent $4.2 billion (about N664bn) on importation of cars in 2010, and that "car import takes the biggest share of the country's foreign reserves followed by other machinery".
He expressed optimism that the success of the policy would mean a gradual end to the importation of fairly used cars to the country.
Also, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Muhammed, said that the council approved the rehabilitation and expansion of the Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX) from Villa roundabout to the OSEX/Ring Road 1(RR1) junction, including five interchanges at N39.8 billion.