By: FRANK BOYEDE
[dropcap]K[/dropcap]ewalram Chanrai Group, dealers of Foton, Isuzu Cherry and Mitsubishi in Nigeria is investing $400 million into automobile assembly plant in the country, because of trust the company has on the nation’s auto policy put in place by the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The company’s Deputy Group Managing Director, Mr. Victor Eburajolo, made the disclosure recently during launching of the company’s new auto assembly plant established at Isolo, Lagos.
“Despite the doubt expressed by many on the success of the new automotive policy,” he said, “we are investing $400 million, because we believe in the policy.”
Mr. Eburajolo, therefore, expressed gratitude to the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) for supporting Kewalram Chanrai towards achieving the dream of being part of the nation’s industrial revival their support.
“As a way of discouraging Nigerians from having preference for used vehicles,” he noted, “We are also working with banks to finance auto acquisition.”
However, while Mr. Eburajolo affirmed that the NADDC had been very helpful, he lamented that there are some government departments that make things difficult for his company.
“But let me emphasize that we are not going to cut corners, but agencies should give approvals timely,” he added.
On the newly launched assembly plant , Mr. Eburajolo said the plant would take-off with assembly of 12,000 Foton and Isuzu trucks, 30,000 mini buses and cars and 36,000 Piaggio tricycles.
The group deputy managing director, also said the plant would produce120,000 Indian motorcycle brand known as Hero.
Eburajolo also claimed that the newly set-up plant had engaged 100 skilled Nigerian employees; an action he believes could create up to 500 indirect jobs.
He explained: “Let me emphasise that we are for now doing only one shift, which is about 60 per cent of the full capacity of the plant. We are starting with Foton trucks. We are also including buses and of course Isuzu.”