Like a prophet long unhonoured and unpatronised by the powers that be at home, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited in Nnewi, Anambra State has got a pat on the back by the Federal Government.
What is left is massive patronage to engender growth of the concern.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described the company as a trailblazer in Nigeria’s automotive industry.
He was on a facility tour of the sprawling manufacturing complex of the company.
“(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,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed, in a statement from his office, said as a manufacturing company, Innoson has demonstrated the spirit behind the formulation of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan, which is aimed at curtailing the dependence on imports and ensuring the growth of the Nigerian automotive industry, using local resources.
“Innoson is living up to what the policy aims to achieve: Creation of jobs, conservation of foreign exchange and acceleration of technical development,” he said.
The Minister said the Federal Government will continue to encourage the patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products, noting that in that regard, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Culture, recently held the National Media Launch of the Made-in Nigeria Campaign.
“On May 18th 2017, as part of the Ease of Doing Business Initiative, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo signed three Executive Orders. One oft he three is called the ‘Support for local contents in public procurement by the Federal Government’. A key provision of this is that all ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall grant preferences to local manufacturers of goods and service providers in their procurement of goods and services,” he said, noting that Innoson will be a major beneficiary of the Executive Orders.
The Minister noted that the success recorded by Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited, through the manufacturing of over 10,000 vehicles and the creation of over 7,000 jobs, is a pointer to the fact that the diversification of the economy by the Buhari Administration is real and achievable.
In his remarks, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, said the company, which started operations in 2009, has production lines for Buses, Pick-up Vans, Sports Utility Vehicles and Sedans, among others.
He said the company has the capacity to produce 10,000 vehicles per year and called for more patronage of its products.
Chief Chukwuma, who took the Minister and his entourage on a tour of the company’s factory, said the company has succeeded in reducing its foreign manpower from 300 at inception to 15, thereby ensuring technology transfer in the manufacturing of vehicles.