The Managing Director, Volkswagen of Nigeria Car Restricted, Mr. Tokunbo Aromolaran, talks in regards to the native auto trade and varied points with ANNA OKON
What was it like taking on the administration of Volkswagen Nigeria after 9 years of the corporate’s closure?
After I took over because the managing director, the plant was very empty. There have been solely warehouses right here as a result of after they shut down Volkswagen in 1989/ninety, the workers wished their severance pay. The pay was given to them however they mentioned it was not sufficient. In order that they looted the place. They eliminated each single factor that was detachable, leaving solely concrete behind.
So once I acquired right here, I didn’t know the place to begin. We initially spent cash repairing the constructing and I informed them to do the bottom ground and a easy workplace for me. I needed to stabilise first earlier than I began doing fancy workplace.
What has been the impact of the recession in your operations?
Enterprise has been very gradual. Persons are not shopping for and when they don’t seem to be shopping for, we can’t maintain producing.
There was hope that with the auto coverage, your capability utilisation would enhance. What went fallacious?
Overseas alternate is what’s used to construct the capability and it isn’t out there. The auto coverage doesn’t make automobiles obtainable. One has to open letters of credit score and import elements for the automotive assembling.
It’s due to the auto coverage that we began assembling in Nigeria within the first occasion and that’s the solely motive we’re in a position to do the quantity we did final 12 months. However as soon as the foreign exchange challenge began, the problem set in. Now a greenback is N470; six months in the past, it was about N200. Which means the worth of my automotive ought to have gone up by greater than twice.
Don’t you could have entry to official alternate charge?
No, we don’t; in the event that they inform you that we do, it’s a lie. All of us have our LCs on the financial institution and we’ve got been queuing up like each different particular person.
If it takes one or two months to get $200,000, that doesn’t give me three automobiles. These vehicles are massive worth gadgets and never issues that you simply get $10,000 and simply go and purchase.
To replenish a container with engine blocks will price about $1m however I hold getting $one hundred,000 each three weeks, how lengthy will it take me to fill a container?
The Senate Committee on Privatisation has instructed you to make small inexpensive vehicles for Nigerian low earnings earners; with this foreign exchange problem, how will you obtain that?
It’s potential if the stakeholders decide to the concept. The scheme the Senate is proposing isn’t new. I used to be the one which first gave the report of making an attempt to get financing for many who couldn’t get financing. The finance homes will dictate the phrases and size of cost as a result of they’re those who will put down the cash and their phrases are totally different from what the Senate is proposing.
The monetary system is proposing about 25 per cent down cost over three or 4 years, whereas the Senate is proposing 10 per cent down fee over seven years. However what number of automobiles final seven years on Nigerian roads? No financier needs to carry your mortgage for seven years.
Practicality on the aspect of the customer is what Senator Ben Bruce-led committee is speaking about. Practicality on the a part of the financial institution is that they’re going to say not more than three years as a result of they don’t wish to finance the automobile when it turns into ineffective. If a purchaser is not in a position to pay, the financial institution is not going to recuperate a seven yr outdated automotive.
The banks too are very jittery, understanding the angle of some Nigerians. They will take the automobile and simply drive away and also you received’t see them once more. Overseas, all people has id; they simply punch the system and they’re going to discover you. Right here, one can disappear into skinny air. There are extra dangers right here than wherever else.
The Senate Committee on Customs alleged that 1500 new automobiles had been seen in your plant. What’s your response to this?
Is it unusual to see 1500 automobiles in an meeting plant? In 2014, Hope Uzodima was right here to examine the manufacturing facility, he noticed the manufacturing line. We confirmed him all the pieces. He wa
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