The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr (Mrs) Zainab Ahmed and her counterpart in charge of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adebayo on Tuesday commissioned three new brands of Innoson’s vehicles and the robotic spraying booth at Umudim Nnewi, Anambra State.
In their separate statements, the Ministers were full of commendations after touring round the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company to commission the new expansions in the factory. Dr (Mrs) Ahmed described Innoson as a leader among the local vehicle manufacturers in Nigeria.
She said that President Muhammadu Buhari had continued to show keen interest in industrial growth of the country especially in local manufacturers. She congratulated Dr Innocent Chukwuma on his ingenuity and Anambra State government on that laudable achievement in the manufacturing sector, adding that the IVM remains the pride of the nation.
Hon Adebayo on his part said that the Innoson Group had taken a giant stand in the automotive industrial development plan. He assured the Federal Government’s readiness to assist the IVM to continue to grow in the auto industry.
The Chairman, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Senator Osita Izunaso said he accompanied the Hon Ministers to see things for himself. He declared that the IVM had done well as he encouraged the company to showcase its products in the next made-in-Nigeria vehicles trade fair coming up in October this year.
The Governor of Anambra State, Dr Willie Obiano who was represented by his deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke described the growth of the IVM as a prayer answered. He said that it is a thing of joy that it is all happening in Anambra State and appealed to the Federal Government to always remember Innoson in the scheme of things.
Earlier in his address, Dr Chukwuma said that the presence of the Ministers and their entourage spoke volume of the Federal Government’s determination to protect, support and give prime attention to indigenous efforts in industrialization.
The new brands of Innoson vehicles to be produced from the new plants were Innoson Shuttle, Innoson Connect and also to be commissioned was Automated Robotic Spraying Booth.
“For the Innoson Shuttle, this vehicle manufacturing plant is designated for the manufacture of 1.5 litre engine capacity, 7-seater minibuses. The minibuses are for our hire purchase youth empowerment programme, in collaboration with interested State governments under a counterpart funding agreement. The plant has an engine capacity of 20,000 minibuses per annum and would provide employment for 660 Nigerians.
“The Innoson Connect is a new vehicle manufacturing plant that would produce 1.5 litre engine capacity cars, built with fuel economy, quite affordable price and easy maintenance, with good aerodynamics for pleasurable drive. It is specifically designed for young and upcoming elitist class and families. The plant has an installed capacity of 12,000 cars per annum, with employment opportunity for 318 Nigerians.
“The Automated Robotic Spraying Booth plant is first of its kind in Nigeria. The plant will further enhance the quality of our products. The plants have a total capacity investment of N4.6 billion.
“We wish to State that the 3 plants were financed with N4.6 billion loan from the Bank of Industry with the support of NADDC, ” he said.
Dr Chukwuma noted that the industrialization of the country through deliberate policies of government is the key to economic growth, adding that no other sector could stimulate growth the way Industries could do. He said that was the reason governments of developed nations placed high premium on industrial development as a veritable engine of growth in any economy.
He commended the Federal Government’s efforts for what he called its unflinching support and dogged determination to ensure “that our investments survive the vagaries of our economic downturn.”
Dr Chukwuma said they had carried on through various incentives, policies and concessions deliberately put up by the Federal Government especially in the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Other dignitaries at the event were the President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engr Mansur Ahmed; Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Mr Olukayode Pitan; Director-General, NADDC, Engr Aliyu Jelani; former Governor of Anambra State, Dame Virgy Etiaba; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Louis Carter Group, Chief Louis Onwugbenu, among others.