By Rotimi Ijikanmi
Nnewi – The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says that the policies of the Federal Government to diversify the economy away from oil is real and achievable.
The Minister stated this on Monday when he led a team of journalists on a visit to Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company in Nnewi , Anambra.
He said that the Federal Government’s commitment to diversifying the economy was unwavering, particularly in the agriculture, solid minerals sectors as well as the creative and manufacturing industries.
Mohammed recalled that as part of the Ease of Doing Business Initiative, the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had on May 18 signed three Executive Orders.
He said one of the Executive Orders, ”Support for Local Contents in Public Procurement” provides that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government shall grant preferences to local manufacturers of goods and service providers in their procurement process.
The minister, who toured all sections of the factory with his encourage, said that Innoson Motors was already putting Nigeria on the global map of vehicle manufacturing.
“Having toured this factory today, I make bold to say that Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Ltd. is a trail blazer in the automotive industry.
“It is a shinning example of what Nigeria is capable of achieving if it looks inwards and taps into the boundless energy and ingenuity of its people.
“True to its name, Innoson is a manufacturing company, not an assembly plant.
“It is exactly what the brains behind the National
Automotive Industry Development Plan have in mind when they rolled out that policy to curtail dependence on imports and ensure the growth of the Nigerian automotive industry, using local resources,” he said.
The minister commended the company for creating jobs, conserving foreign exchange and acceleration of technical development.
He said that with the company’s record within just a decade of its existing, he was optimistic that it would help to end the dominance of Tokunbo vehicles on Nigeria roads.
The minister listed five advantages of buying an Innoson-manufactured vehicle to include – fuel efficiency, warranty, no overheating, auto-financing and environment-friendly vehicles.
The Chairman of Innoson Group, Chief Innocent Chukwuma said that the manufacturing plant “is wholly indigenous with a vision to make durable and affordable brand new vehicles for Africans”.
He said the company’s mission and vision were in line with government’s plan to make Nigeria one of the world’s top 20 industrialised nations by year 2020.
The chairman said that the factory started operations in 2009 and had till date locally manufactured 11,000 vehicles.
The vehicles according to him included: Buses ranging from 16 seaters to 45 seaters, Pick Up Van, SUV, Sedans, Ambulance and Garbage Contractors.
He said the factory had the capacity to manufacture 10,000 vehicles in a year but it was not performing near optimally because of level of patronage and inadequate capital for investment.