By Mike Ochonma
Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun, has reaffirmed his country’s willingness to provide support to innovations in Nigeria.
Jianchun said innovations, such as the newly built GAC auto assembly plant in Ogba, Lagos, come as a fulfilment of “China-Africa bilateral industrial capacity co-operation pact with Nigeria”.
The ambassador, during a recent tour of the GAC auto assembly plant in Lagos in the company of Mohammad Tunde Mukaila, a representative of Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs, and other top government and Chinese embassy officials, said he was impressed with the auto facility which is a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the Lagos State government and CIG Motors Co. Limited.
Before this partnership, the local auto industry had been beset with stagnation and inconsistent policies regarding investment in the sector; both in terms of fiscal and importation policies, resulting in influx of used, rickety vehicles, accounting for about two-thirds of vehicles on the road.
Diana Chen, chairman of CIG Motors, said the company has carefully studied the automobile market and met with key stakeholders to partner, with the purpose of reviving the sector, through the establishment of a world-class automobile assembly plant in Nigeria. The plant will annually produce a minimum of 5,000 vehicles to meet market demands and redefine the sector.
The partnership was strategically sealed in Guangzhou, China, between CIG chairman Chen, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State governor, and Zeng Qinghong, chairman of GAC Motors Group, in December 2019.
In July 2021, the project was locally approved for execution and construction commenced in October 2021. The project industrial area covers a total of 35,000 square metres, and the automobile production line covers an area of 4,800 square metres.
The installation of the plants and machinery for the production line took only seven months to complete, and was supervised by world-class engineers, with local employees benefitting from hands on vocational training of the processes involved.
This is a reaffirmation of CIG’s credibility and commitment towards the sustainable economic development of the nation, the company said.
Aside from meeting present needs of modern automobile solutions for the citizenry, GAC Motors has futuristic plans of placing Nigeria amongst key players in the global campaign of eco-friendly production, by veering into production of electric vehicles with dual usage of CNG.
“This will further contribute to the nation’s strategy to run a non-oil economy in the near future, as well as boost foreign exchange policy. The current assembly plant is projected to double production within five years, creating thousands of jobs in the process, while serving as a vocational training institute for mechanically inclined young Nigerians who seek to pursue a career in mechatronics,” the company said.
The ambassador’s delegation was overly impressed by the progress and automation of the factory and commended key players of the partnerships, urging them not to relent in their vision for industrialization of the automobile industry.
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