‘100% made-in-Nigerian car possible in five years’
• Onu issues directives to patronize locally-made vehicles
Nigeria’s dream of manufacturing state of the art vehicles with 100 per cent local content may just be five years away, going by assurances by local vehicle manufacturers.
Also as part of a recent proclamation to support the local auto-manufacturing industry, the Ministry of Science and Technology has directed the 17 agencies under it to henceforth patronize vehicles made in Nigeria
This is coming even as local auto manufacturers have lamented how access to foreign exchange, poor power supply and inconsistent government policy on the protection and patronage of locally has continued to hurt the industry and pleaded for government’s support to wriggle out of the challenges.
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who rode in an inter-city vehicle produced by a local auto manufacturing firm, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company in Abuja, yesterday, noted that such purchases would, however be made immediately the budget is assented to by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dr. Innocent Chukwuma is the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company
Onu said: “We will lead the urgent need to patronize made in Nigeria vehicles. As soon as the budget is assented, the minister will only drive made in Nigeria vehicles. We will lead by example; all the agencies in the ministry, 17 of them will begin to use made in Nigeria vehicles.
“Our president has promised that he will create jobs and grow the economy. In Innocent Chukwuma, we find a man who started small, grew with time and today he is an embodiment of all these beautiful jobs, highly technical jobs; high quality. we now have cars with 60% local content. He has been involved in the peace initiative in the Niger Delta by training the youths,” the Minister noted.
He added: “Even without support, you have been doing research and innovation. I believe with support, you will do more. The administration will champion and ensure that the obstacles you are facing are removed for you to opreate optimally. when you do so, you will hire more Nigerian s and the economy will grow. What you are doing is an act of patriotism.”
Earlier, Chukwuma, had assured that Nigeria could begin to produce a 100% locally produced vehicle in Nigeria in five years if the necessary environment is created.
Chukwuma had told Onu during the inspection of his locally-made vehicles that his firm was working to seriously bring down the cost of vehicles and minimize Nigeria’s dependence on imported vehicles.
He identified access to foreign exchange, poor power supply and inconsistent government policy as such issues hurting the auto manufacturing industry in Nigeria.