Jonathan Opens Nigeria's Car Plant


It was indeed a turn-around for Nigeria’s automotive industry recently when  President Goodluck Jonathan opened a car plant said to be the biggest in Africa.

Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited (IVM), Nnewi is remarkable because  this is the first time in the history of the industry in Nigeria that an auto plant  is built by a single private investor, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, who stood tall as  guests, from the President and Gov Peter Obi of Anambra State, to other invitees,  poured encomiums on him for his foresight and courage.

Using expressions like “a day of happiness” to describe his mood, the President  lauded the plant as one that is creating employment, giving boost to government’s  efforts towards economic growth and development, as well as contributing to the  drive to catch up with, and possibly overtake, other countries who gained  independence the same period with Nigeria.

“I am indeed happy that Innoson is not just assembling parts that are imported from  other countries. From all indications, it is only the engine that is imported. Apart  from that, every other thing is manufactured in Nigeria,” he stated.

Chief Chukwuma told that the guests that the plant presently employs no fewer than  1,600 Nigerians and a few expatriates. The plastic-making sister company, Innoson  Technical and Industrial Company Limited, in Emene, Enugu, has as many as 1,800  workers on its payroll.

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“Mr President, with adequate encouragement, we can go beyond our present level of  operation, and when we operate fully, the auto plant alone can employ as many as  3,200. We want to appreciate the example of the Enugu State Governor, Mr. Sullivan  Chime (who has placed an order for hundreds of buses and refuse disposal vans from  Innoson) and pray that every tier of government from Federal to Local Government and  government parastatals, should emulate this patriotic act,” he pleaded to President  Jonathan.

Other requests by Chukwuma include soft loans with not more than five per cent  interest “to enable us achieve our production target”  and  tax holidays for a  period of 10 years “to enable the automotive plant stabilize”.

He said: “Mr. President, we want to assure you that if these requests are granted,  in two years’ time, such things like motor engine which we still import will be  manufactured locally”.

On display at the ceremony were 14, 26 and 35 seater- buses, double cabin pick up  vans and SUVs.

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