The Chairman of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited, Chief Innocent Chukwuma yesterday said the company will, in the next five years, commence local manufacture of vehicle engine to acheive 100 per cent local content in the auto industry.
Currently, the firm is doing 60 per cent local content with the assembling of vehicle parts and the purchase of vehicle engines from foreign markets.
He reiterated the comapny’s determination to make Nigeria one of the 20 top world‘s industrialised nations by 2020.
Speaking while he led the management team of the company to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu in Abuja, he said Innoson, being the first indigenous motor manufacturing company, was set to reduce drastically, the prices of vehicles and cut down the country‘s dependence on imported vehicles.
Informing the minister that the beginning was tough and rough, the chairman urged the government to assist in the area of efficient power supply to power the over 100 industries that have made Nnewi, the Taiwan of Africa.
“Our major request is to help us in accessing foreign exchange to enable us keep and maintain our over 7, 200 employees. We wish to also request for a government policy to ensure that home-made goods are protected and patronised by all levels of governments and agencies,” he pleaded.
This, according to him, would ensure that the youths were employable or self-employed, pointing out that 200 youths were currently undergoing training from Niger Delta under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
Responding, Dr. Onu assured the team that the ministry would support, cooperate and collaborate with the company, pointing out that after the budget was out, the ministry, alongside all the agencies under the ministry would, henceforth, drive only made-in-Nigeria vehicles.
He urged the management team to upgrade the company‘s facilities and work towards manufacturing the engines in Nigeria, as another way of creating employment opportunities to Nigerian populace.