It is time to patronize made in Nigeria Cars

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If you’ve gone shopping recently, you will notice that virtually every product in the market has increased in price. If you ask the people selling these products the reason for the increment, their response will be dollar is high or dollar has increased. That may be true knowing that most of these products are imported and transactions were made in dollars. The ones that befuddle me are people selling vegetables, pepper, garri and the likes –do they also use dollar for transaction or do they import vegetables and pepper? I often wonder the reason for the sudden increment in some of these food items.

How did our economy get to this stage of retrogression? It is no lon­ger news that the Nigerian economy is in chaos at the moment. Naira is reducing in value daily as against the dollar. Every sector seems to be suffering as a result of the hike in dollar. The last time I checked the exchange Naira rate to a Dollar it was at 330NGN to 1 dollar.

However, my focus is on people selling cars. A lot of car dealers are complaining of poor patronage from customers due to the outrageous exchange rate between the Naira and Dollar. It’s been a rough and tough time for them because they can’t even buy new cars to sell; they’ve run out of stock and have been unable to import cars. And for some dealers who managed to import these cars, they can’t sell them because the new cost is prohibitive for customers, hence the poor patronage.

The question before us is “What can be done to bring a revolution to our economy?”. Will the social media campaign #BuyNaijatoGrowTheNaira work’? Come to think of it, are we matured enough as a nation to make good cars; do Nigerians have confidence in Made in Nigeria cars? I must commend Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Co. Ltd, a car man­ufacturing company founded by Innocent Chukwuma, which runs a car manufacturing plant in Nnewi, in Anambra State, for his efforts to produce made in Nigeria cars. Innoson vehicles introduces automotive products from China, Japan and Germany. Its products line includes heavy duty vehicles, middle and high level buses, special environment friendly vehicles. The company carries out optimization design and assembly according to West African road condition so as to produce suitable products at affordable prices.

How many #MadeInNigeria cars are sitting in the numerous car lots scattered across the country? Even if they have them, will Nigerians buy these cars? If we think buying made in Nigeria products will grow the Naira, then let’s start buying made in Nigeria Cars. Car dealers should be encouraged to buy and sell cars made by Innoson Motors, with full financial backing and support from federal government. It is a good thing that at least we now have made in Nigeria cars produced by Innoson Motors, it will be a step towards the right direction if everyone will patronize or buy these cars made in Nigeria, starting with the car dealers, and now that the dollar is high they don’t need to import these cars.

We must, however, ask ourselves if these cars are truly made in Nige­ria, and not assembled in Nigeria. If they are just being assembled in Nigeria, even though we may be gaining some traction, we are still paying a lot of money to import the parts, and as long as we are importing more, our dollar/naira crisis will continue unabated.  70 percent of the parts used in building Innoson cars are locally sourced. This is a right step in the right direction as it signifies hope for the Nigerian market.

For some reason, Nigerians just love buying imported products.  Yet every time we buy imported cars and other products, our money is going out of Nigeria to service an economy in Europe and Asia, and the end result is that their currency gains value while ours loses value. How long are we going to continue to depend on imported prod­ucts when we can produce some of these this things we import right here in Nigeria?  Let’s have a rethink.

By ThankGod Okorisha

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