The automotive stakeholders of Nigeria have advised the government to note that the MoU signed with Volkswagen of Germany may not support the economic interest of the country. The stakeholders said it would be far fetched for Volkswagen to set up an assembly plant in Nigeria, when it already plans to set up one in Ghana.
The stakeholders acknowledged that the real intention of the MoU was to make Nigeria a dumping ground for the Volkswagen products assembled in Ghana. Although the deal was signed to develop a joint vision for an automotive hub that would cover the coast of West Africa, it could lead to the detriment of the country.
The MoU was signed in the presence of President Buhari in Abuja. The head of Volkswagen Sub-Saharan region, Thomas Shaefer, signed the agreement on behalf of Volkswagen with the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah.
Reacting to the news, a stakeholder said “from what I have read in the media about the MoU, it is not clear what the Germans want in West Africa. It appears VW of Germany is up to something in West Africa. They did not say anything about VON. VON Automobile does not have VW as shareholder because it acquired 40 percent and 11 percent equity of VW and BHF bank, both of Germany. The current owners Barbedos Motors also acquired federal government’s 35 percent and Mandilas Motors combined 10 percent ownership”.
He added “the issue therefore is: is VW buying back its shares in VON Automotive or setting up a new plant? is FG reversing her privatisation policy by making up fresh investment in what is ordinarily a private sector activity? It would have been best if government facilitates partnership between VW and Nigerian investors in a new assembly plant”.
Chairman of DVC OBI Group, Dr. David Obi said it will not be to the interest of Nigeria if the German automaker is putting up an assembly in Ghana. He notes Nigeria needs companies that will create jobs and contribute to the economic development of the country.
He also said if VW establishes a plant in Ghana, they are not likely to do the same in Nigeria. Instead, the plant in Ghana will service the Nigerian market.