Automotive policy: South African bank offers finance to Nigerians to buy locally-assembled vehicles

By The Citizen
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The Nigerian automotive industry has received a boost with WesBank of South Africa offering a vehicle finance scheme to retail and corporate purchasers of the nation's locally assembled vehicles.

WesBank is a division of FirstRand Bank Limited.
Already, the National Automotive Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the South African firm for this purpose.

A statement by the NAC said the deal was aimed at stimulating the sale of locally assembled vehicles in Nigeria.

The MoU was said to have been signed in Johannesburg, South Africa last week by the Director General, NAC, Mr. Aminu Jalal, who led the NAC management team composed of the Director Policy and Planning, Mr. Luqman Mamudu and Director Industrial Infrastructure, Mr. Waheed Odetoro, to the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of WesBank, Mr. Chris De Kork, signed on behalf of his company in the presence of other WesBank management team, the statement added.

Jalal said the Nigerian government recently approved the National Automotive Industry Development Plan to attract investments from vehicle manufacturers globally and grow the supply of locally-manufactured vehicles.

He explained that the agreement would allow WesBank to work closely with NAC to develop vehicle financing solutions specifically for those vehicles built in Nigeria with the aim of making them readily affordable for the average Nigerian car users.

De Kock expressed the delight of WesBank as the partner of choice for the Nigerian government.

He said, 'We are delighted that the Nigerian government and NAC have chosen WesBank as their partner of choice.

'Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and this is an excellent opportunity to grow our footprint on the continent, in line with the FirstRand strategy. We believe that we have the required experience and expertise to operate successfully in developing countries given our own experience in South Africa over the last 50 years.

'Our ability to find innovative solutions and to develop country specific products and processes we think will be well received by the Nigerian automotive market and its buyers. It is also our hope that in due time, this venture could become the biggest market for WesBank in Sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa.'

It said WesBank was already successfully represented in other African markets such Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zambia.

It noted that the move to Nigeria would extend its reach to the northern parts of the continent, presenting an opportunity to participate in some of the larger African economies where, over time, vehicles sales were expected to experience substantial growth.

'WesBank is South Africa's market leader in vehicle and asset finance. This position has been achieved through successful partnerships with leading manufacturers, offering finance to consumers for both locally-manufactured and imported models,' it added.

It would be recalled that NAC DG recently announced that the council was packaging a vehicle financing scheme which would make Nigerian assembled vehicles easily affordable on convenient payment terms spread over a period of about four years at a very low interest rate.

The scheme is also intended to assist vehicle assembly plants in Nigeria to gain high volume within a very short time so as to facilitate local components development.