The 15th edition of the Lagos International Motor Fair organised by BKG Exhibitions Limited penultimate week recorded an all-time low turnout of auto dealers and other stakeholders in the nation’s automotive industry, Daily Trust reports.
Apart from vehicle dealers, regular spare parts exhibitors from overseas and other dealers in auto and allied products and services were absent.
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About 50 auto brands were said to be absent largely due to what some sources called the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic which blighted the financial standing of auto dealers and reduced the purchasing power of car users.
Unlike other editions where over 50 vehicles would be on display by different OEMs and dealers, the fair witnessed low display of cars and SUVs from Mikano Motors, Kia, OMAA, Jet Systems and Coscharis Motors.
Massilia Motors, distributors of Mitsubishi Motors; CFAO/Suzuki, Stallion Motors, dealers of over seven brands; Westar Limited, dealers of Mercedes, Toyota Nigeria Limited, amongst others were absent.
Speaking on the poor turnout at the fair, Managing Director of BKG Exhibitions Limited, Ifeanyichukwu Agwu, confirmed that it is “a seriously challenging time in the automotive industry in Nigeria.”
A former Acting Director-General of the NADDC, Mr. Mamudu Lukman, in his response said, “The industry is now in a state of suspended animation.”
He said the absence of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) is virtually killing the industry.
“The Section 38 of the 2020 Finance Act makes it practically unattractive to invest in local value addition like basic assembly. If you can import a fully built pickup at 10%, why will you import the same vehicle in SKD form? It doesn’t make sense. So everyone is now an importer.”
A senior lecturer, Mass Communication Department, Covenant University, in Ogun state, Dr Oscar Odiboh, said the low turnout was a reflection of the dire economic situation worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The economic situation has a role to play in it. In 2009/2010, it affected the auto show; the same in 2011-2015. The show was affected these previous years and attendance was based on the factors I mentioned above.”
A source at Toyota Nigeria Limited attributed its participation at the motor fair to the short notice from the organisers and the issue of finance.