• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

Lining manufacturer advocates subsidy

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A manufacturer of brake pads and lining in the country, Chidi Ukachukwu, has called on the Federal Government to assist in reducing internal cost of manufacturing the products to enable the manufacturers compete favourably with importers.

“In China, the government subsidises cost of small companies by helping to pay engineers. Small companies cannot hire good engineers in the industry because they cannot afford to pay them, given that big firms will always come around to snatch them away,” said Ukachukwu, who is the chief executive officer, Star Auto Industries Limited, the only brake pads and lining manufacturing firm in the country.

“We do not need money. I have better equipment than what you see in China. I have been there, so I know. I do not clamour for ban on imports because that will encourage smuggling. What I am saying is subsidise salaries, energy and others, give us a target and you will see us meeting it,” he added.

Star Auto Industries Limited remains the only surviving brake pads manufacturer in Nigeria. Findings show many players in the industry have been driven out by inconsistent government policies, unbridled imports and cloning.

Previously, there had been firms like Feredo, then located in Ibadan, Oyo State; Mintex, then located in Kano; and Fenok, then situated in Onitsha, Anambra State. Others were Apex (Lagos), Edison (Nnewi), Uko (Onitsha), and Ibeto (Nnewi). But they all fizzled out owing to the reasons outlined above.

“You cannot expect them to remain when importers sell a lining or brake pads worth N1,000 at the rate of N400,” said Usman Dantan, a medium-scale manufacturer, in an interview with BusinessDay.