BusinessDay

Senate chair applauds Dangote-Sinotruk’s vehicle assembly investment

The commitment of Dangote Sinotruk West Africa to Nigeria’s economic development through investment in a vehicle assembly factory has been commended by Tokunbo Abiru, chairman of the Senate Committee on Industry.

This was noted in a press release by the company, which noted Abiru as saying that as much as the members of the Senate Committee on Industry would prefer a factory setting where nearly everything would be produced locally in Nigeria, Dangote Sinotruck is still a good place to start with.

“For us in the Senate, this is a very good starting point. Our desire is for Completely Knocked Down parts (CKDs) to be manufactured here in Nigeria.

“With Dangote Sinotruk West Africa, Nigeria’s path to self-reliance in vehicle assembling has begun. We want to encourage the company to continue to see how best to make Nigeria self-reliant in vehicle assembling as well as encourage other players in the value chain to also get on board,” Abiru added.

He remarked that one approach to promoting the economy of the country is through the work the company is doing. The company operates a production plant that assembles the trucks required for Nigerian commercial activity.

“The Dangote Sinotruk plant will assist the government in preserving foreign exchange that would have been used to import trucks into the country. The company is also providing employment to many Nigerians. What we need on the part of government is to continue to support the company to grow,” Abiru said.

Hikmat Thapa, group general manager, Dangote Sinotruk West Africa Limited, expressed his gratitude to the Senate Committee members for taking out time to tour the vehicle assembly plant.

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Thapa stated that in order to help the government’s initiatives to promote economic development throughout the nation, the company aims to satisfy the rising need for the vehicle industry needed for the logistics, building, and food & beverage industries in Nigeria.

Additionally, M.J. Kogis, assistant manager of Sinotruk West Africa, said in his presentation to the Senate Committee members that the company is planning a project expansion to improve value addition and increase local inputs to 40–60 percent in West Africa in order to support the Federal Government’s backward integration drive for Nigerian products.

He added that this initiative seeks to create roughly 3,000 job opportunities across Nigeria and that Sinotruk has installed the capacity to assemble and produce 15 to 16 trucks per shift, which is equivalent to 10,000 trucks annually. In order to build different vehicle cabins, the company has added welding and painting lines to its basic framework.

“The quality products of Sinotruk are of a high standard which is reliable and adaptable to any environment, enabling them to stably serve our customers in various climatic environments, working sites, and operational conditions of different countries”, Kogis said.

One of the issues facing the company, according to Kogis, is a lack of foreign exchange. Another issue is unfavourable competition from car manufacturers who avoid following rules and regulations and improperly certifying their CKD assemblies.

“Certified automobile companies tend to run at a loss when placed on the same platform of expenditure”, he added.

He encouraged the Federal Government to evaluate and put into effect helpful policies in order to help Nigeria’s automobile industry grow. Additionally, he requested that the government direct forex allocation from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and award funding through the Bank of Industry (BOI) for the opening of Letters of Credit (L.C.)

Speaking about Dangote Sinotruk’s significance to the growth of Nigeria’s economy, Kogis stated that the firm is tasked with building and producing a wide variety of commercial vehicles, including heavy-duty trucks, medium-duty trucks, light trucks, various semi-trailers, etc.

In order to support Nigeria’s economic development, he continued, the company creates employment opportunities for Nigerians, advances the country’s automobile sector, expands its equipment base, and advances Nigerian technology.

“Dangote Sinotruk West Africa Limited as a Joint Venture aims to play a strategic and key role in the manufacturing and assembly industry to develop trucks to serve the various logistics needs of the populace. With this goal in mind, we are structured to provide employment opportunities to the masses in line with Dangote Group objectives as well as improve the local automobile industry and promote the economic development in Nigeria,” Kogis said.

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