BusinessDay

China committed to GAC auto assembly plant in Nigeria, says envoy

Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun has reaffirmed China’s willingness to providing support to innovations such as the newly built GAC auto assembly plant in Ogba, Lagos, Nigeria.

He stated this during his visit to the facility recently. Such innovations he said is seen as fulfilment of “China-Africa bilateral industrial capacity co-operation pact with Nigeria.”

The ambassador, who toured the facility in company of a representative of Nigeria’s minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Tunde Mukaila, and other top government and Chinese embassy officials, was impressed with the auto facility which is a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the Lagos State government and CIG Motors Co. Limited.

Recall that before this partnership, the local auto industry had been beset with growth stagnation, constantly plagued by inconsistent government policies regarding investments in this 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.

According to the chairman of CIG Motors, Diana Chen, CIG Motors 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; that will annually produce a minimum of 5,000 vehicles to meet market demands, and redefine the sector.

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The partnership was strategically sealed in Guangzhou, between the cairman of Choice International Group Diana Chen, governor Babajide Sanwo Olu of Lagos State 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 meters, and the automobile production line covers an area of 4,800 square meters.

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 benefiting from hands-on vocational training of the processes involved.

CIG stated that “this reaffirms the credibility and commitment of CIG Motors towards the sustainable economic development of the nation.”

Aside 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 further stated.

The delegation expressed satisfaction with the progress and automation of the factory, commending the key players of the partnership, and urging them not to relent in their vision for the industrialisation of the automobile industry.

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