Policy certainty key to unlocking EV investments, says WesBank

9th December 2022 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

“Capital investment in the local automotive industry, which includes the vehicle and asset finance houses, requires certainty in policy frameworks so that [the industry] can make long-term predictions when getting involved in completely new projects such as the move to electric vehicles (EVs),” says WesBank CEO Ghana Msibi.

Msibi participated in a roundtable discussion at the South African Auto Week, held at the Kyalami Conference Centre. The discussion was chaired by Deloitte Africa automotive industry leader Dr Martyn Davies.

“It is not about an unwillingness to take risks,” noted Msibi.

“[But] we require a settled environment before making decisions.

“We know what we need to do, but the way capital can play in the new world of mobility depends on the speed at which government responds by providing the relevant policies and frameworks timeously, creating an environment conducive to our active participation.”

Msibi’s comments come as government is yet to finalise its EV support policy.

“The current hurdle is that government cannot get the basic hygiene issues right in terms of a long-term EV policy,” added Msibi.

“There seems to be too much politicising and philosophising on issues, with another example being the long delay in finalising the spectrum issue. Most of all, we need accountability and partnership from government so we can make our decisions with confidence.”

Another panellist, Business Leadership South Africa CEO Professor Busisiwe Mavuso, concurred with Msibi when she said that government should first get the basics right and have the political will to implement what needs to be done.

When asked by Davies what would be coming next from the world of vehicle finance, Msibi noted there was a fixation on product, while the focus should be more on services, where financing options were on a connected platform that included much more than just vehicle financing.

“We need to build the business beyond finance and into adjacent industries.

“More than 70% of vehicle purchases in South Africa are financed and the challenge is that we need to democratise mobility to make it accessible to more people,” he said.