[dropcap]M[/dropcap]inister of Industries, Trade and Commerce, Olusegun Aganga, has commended, the Dana Group, owners of United Vehicle Assembly Limited, for the establishment of its automobile assembly plant in Lagos, in compliance with the Federal Government’s directive.
This was disclosed in a statement from Dana Group.
According to the company, Aganga, who made this commendation during an assessment visit to the plant recently, expressed surprise at the state of the plant, which had been rolling out Kia products before then.
“The Minister said the investment was in line with the nascent automotive policy of the Federal Government adding that government was ready to partner with car manufacturers and assembly plants to ease new car ownership among Nigerians.
“While acknowledging that the company had performed above his expectation, he noted that it was not out of place that the company’s brands were doing well in the market.
“He said one of the unique features of the Dana Group was the employment of Nigerian professionals in the company, adding that 85 percent of engineers in the plant were Nigerians. According to the minister yearly imports of used cars which stood at over N6billion was unsustainable and the only way to stem the tide was to support firms like the group”.
The statement further revealed that the minister pointed out that a trip round the plant showed that quality control was high adding that what he saw was enough courage that whatever product that passes the quality test could pass any standard test anywhere in the world.
The minister also assured car owners whose cars were cover within the warranty period but developed fault, not to worry as his ministry was working hand- in-hand with the Consumers Protection Commission to address such issues.
He said the commission has been strengthened enough to protect consumers adding that it has recovered new cars for some of them with genuine cases.
The Minister assured Nigerians desirous of owning new cars that with the plan to launch a new car purchase scheme, it would be easier to spread payment rather than the cash and carry approach in the past..
According to him, the new scheme, which is a partnership with banks, will afford consumers’ access to specialized loan that would attract between 10 and 12 per cent and spread over four years, which is targeted at making car purchase easier. To ensure continuity of the auto policy, Aganga said there are laws enacted to ensure that it outlive the current administration Managing Director of Dana Group, Jack Hathiramani, said the plant would serve Kia and Renault brands simultaneously adding that this was why the plant was named United Assembly Plant Limited to satisfy the two principals.
He said the plant has capacity to produce 25,000 car a year, even as he said that the company was eyeing listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in the nearest future. He disclosed that over N2billion was spent on building the first line.