Jonathan To Open Innoson Auto Plant, As Ghana Comes Pleading


File Photo: Innoson Buses

The multi-billion naira Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited (IVM) plant built  by Nnewi industrialist, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, OON, will be commissioned by President  Goodluck Jonathan on 15 October, 2010.

•Innoson Buses.

The official commissioning of the Nnewi plant is expected to usher in a new phase in the  nation’s auto industry, which has had a not-too-successful trajectory, with a good number  of the auto assembly companies established by government between the 1970s and the 1980s,  either dead or gasping for breath.

Only last week, the Minister of State toured the new Nnewi plant, where, by her own  admission, she was amazed by the courage displayed by Chief Chukwuma, the huge   investment so far made by the entrepreneur and the volume of production activities within  the complex.

“I am highly impressed with what is available here. Chief Chukwuma is an individual, but  doing what the government is supposed to do. The auto plant is a big plus in terms of  employment generation. The Chairman said that this place is only producing at 30 per cent  of its actual capacity. One wonders what will happen when it starts operating fully”

The minister also remarked that if more auto plants like Innoson’s are established in   the country, “the youths would smile and forget about unemployment. Chief Chukwuma’s  initiative is amazing and I think he needs to be encouraged”.

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Mrs Tapgun said her visit which came about three weeks ahead of the expected  commissioning of the plant by President Jonathan, was due to the urge to see things for  herself and seek ways of supporting the project. “The intervention fund available for  industries is a huge relief for people like him. And I expect him to benefit from it,”  she enthused.

And If recent developments at Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited (IVM) are a  foretaste of what the future holds for the Nnewi-based auto plant, then it is well on the  way to becoming the corporate version of the biblical prophet that is respected more  abroad than at home.

Though production is yet to gather full momentum, the plant and the vehicles that have so  far rolled off the production lines have been attracting attention from the ECOWAS  sub-regional markets, particular Ghana which last week sent a top-level delegation to  Nnewi, to discuss business with the management of Innoson.

Led by the Deputy Minister for Transport, Madam Dzifa Aku Attivor, the visitors toured  various sections of the auto plant (and briefly watched production in progress), the  plastic-manufacturing sister company in Emene, Enugu, which supplies some of the  vehicles’ parts and accessories, as well as a new tyre manufacturing company, General  Tyres and Tubes Limited, also a member of the Innoson Group.

The Deputy Minister who repeatedly expressed how “very, very impressed” she was during  the tour of the auto plant, said she and her team were on a fact- finding mission. She  disclosed that they were in Nigeria to explore the possibility of not just introducing  some of Innoson Group’s products to the Ghanaian market, but also setting up a similar  auto plant in Ghana.

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