BusinessDay gathered that the Federal Government is currently negotiating with the Asian automobile giants on the relocation plans.
The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Terhemba Nongo, who revealed this in an exclusive interview with BusinessDay in Abuja, said NEPZA is close to getting a deal with Kia Motors to relocate from Mali to Nigeria.
“Right now, they are trying to relocate and I am discussing with them. I am talking to them and I am hopeful that I may be lucky to woo them to Nigeria. The government will give us all the support. The only snag I have now is with Dana. Dana imports all Kia products but negotiation is going on.
“I believe that by the time Kia agrees to come, Honda and Toyota will follow. I want to start with Kia and if they come, and their cars become cheaper, Nigerians will patronise them more. It is cheaper to establish and assemble in Nigeria than to import their finished products into Nigeria. The future looks bright, as we restructure the Free Trade Zones.
“When Kia comes, they are expected to serve the West African market and indeed other parts of the world from Nigeria. Mercedes Benz, Peugeot and other cars had some problems because Nigerians believe it is cheaper to maintain Asian cars than American or European cars. This may not be true, but that is their perception of the issue,” he said.
Asian auto makers have been experiencing falling profits and labour protests, making it imperative for them to explore the huge African market.