It is estimated that about 20 million tyres are imported into Nigeria every year, and that this practice is detrimental to the economy and future of the country.
This statement was made by the Director General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, (NADDC), Mr. Jelani Aliyu, (MFR)
He said the importation of tyres into Nigeria simply means all the manpower, jobs and economic activities that are needed to produce that many tyres are lost to the nation, pointing out despite our huge unemployment rate and instead of creating jobs in Nigeria, the economy is fueling jobs outside the country
Presenting a Keynote Address on the Challenges and Prospects of Tyre Industry in Nigeria during the Conference on Tyre Value Chain in Nigeria on Tuesday in Kano, Aliyu said thousands of the nationa��s youths that could otherwise be engaged in producing those tyres are now wasting their lives away in markets, motor parks and hawking on the streets.
The NADDC director general said every year that millions of spare parts are imported into Nigeria. He explained while importation in itself is not a problem, that the major problem is that majority of these imported parts are sub-standard.
According to him, these are parts that have already been used in Europe or America and then dumped into Nigeria, or they may be new, brand new from China, but as opposed to the quality parts shipped from China to the United States, the ones we get here are far below acceptable global standards.
a�?Taking jobs away from Nigeria is bad enough. To allow sub-standard tires into the country is absolutely unacceptable, in fact its bordering on the inhumane.
a�?We cannot forget that this is Nigeria, a nation that is among the worlda��s top ten crude oil producers, a nation with a strong population of over 180 million. The estimated number of vehicles on the roads are over 40 million. A nation with a rich history, of amazing kingdoms, empires and cultures. A nation with abundant natural and human resources. We simply do not deserve to be a dumping ground for anything, talk less of automotive components.
a�?With over 50% of the population under 20 years old, there is literally a new Nigeria in the formation, a new Nigeria that deserves the best, and we cannot allow the future of this nation to be subjected to standards that are below international levelsa�?, the NADDC director added.
On what the is NADDC doing address these challenges, Aliyu said part of the mandate of the NADDC is to regulate the auto industry, saying in that regards and to ensure that all automotive related products and components meet minimum global standards, NADDC is building three test centers in the country.
a�?These centers are 80% complete, and they will ensure that vehicles, materials and components produced and used in the country meet minimum acceptable global standards levels. Of particular interest to tyres will be the Component Testing Centre in Enugu. All tyres brought into and locally manufactured in Nigeria will have to be certified at this center, thereby eliminating substandard and counterfeit productsa�?.
He noted that NADDC is also setting up three automotive industrial parks in Nnewi, Kaduna and Oshogbo, saying they will be centralized locations with all the necessary infrastructure to enable stakeholders set up the production of components such as tyres.
According to the director general, used tyres must be banned from being imported into the country, while new tyres will be allowed to be imported until local production meets demand, and then an elimination strategy will be employed to systematically phase out the importation.
Earlier while welcoming guests, participants and other stakeholders to the conference, the Chairman of the Board of NADDC, Senator Osita Izunaso, said Power is an important production input in tyre manufacturing, noting if generators were used in the production, the tyres wouldna��t be of acceptable quality.
He explained when the imported tyres are brought in, they are not well stored and the weather difference makes the tyre not able to last for long time as supposed to, hence most of them were below quality standard.
According to him, the task of selecting and using a good tyre is enormous and quite important, pointing out wrong tyre usage or selection portends danger to motorists, pedestrians and indeed all road users.
a�?The overall purpose of this conference on tyre is to propose policy options concerning the use of tyres for improvement of traffic safety. Centrally to this is the idea that end users need to get very good and high quality tyre at affordable rate and accessible to them within the country in order to achieve a high level of safety.a�?
Izunaso said despite the awareness on the danger inherent in the use of fairly use tyres that the practice still thrives, saying efforts should also be made to improve the Nigerian economy as it is presently tough for most vehicle owners to procure brand new tyres for their vehicles, hence the resort to fairly used and substandard tyres which are cheaper but more dangerous.
a�?However, this is a clarion call to the Nigerian investors to have a rethink and create tyre production plants in the country again as it will also help in boosting the nationa��s economya�?, the NADDC board chairman said.