If all goes well, a vehicle assembly plant will roll out different classes of new cars in Lagos will be ready by the end of the year. It is a joint project if the Lagos State Government and CIG Motors.
On Thursday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu inspected the progress of the automobile facility located at WEMPCO Road in Ogba area. He was received by the Chairman of the CIG Motors Company Limited, Chief Diana Chen, a Chinese investor.
The Governor’s visit came 17 months after the he formally sealed a joint venture agreement with the automobile company to establish the plant in the state.
The plant is the result of Sanwo-Olu’s business trip to China in November 2019 where the state government and the Chinese Investors’ Community reached bilateral agreements.
IBILE Holdings Limited, a state-owned corporation, is supervising the investment on behalf of the state government.
On Thursday, the Governor inspected the fully equipped assembly halls. The plant is expected to produce 5,000 units of new vehicles when it becomes operational.
Other ancillary facilities already in place in the yard include wheel balancing chamber, spraying booths, maintenance hall, noise testing chambers, sprinkling arena to test for roof leakage, staff lounge and auto parts warehouse.
Sanwo-Olu said: “This is one of the things we promised Lagosians. Apart from our relationship with CIG Motors, there is a partnership in which we are setting up a vehicle assembly plant. This is becoming a reality as the site is live with structures and assembly equipment. The place has been well prepared for the production of vehicles. We initially agreed it would be SKD (Semi Knocked Down) but now the facility has moved to CKD (Completely Knocked Down).
“We are hoping that their first plan is to have a production capacity of 5,000 vehicles, after which it will be pushed to 10,000 vehicles per year. We are happy with the level of work at the site and the commitment of our partner to this project. The plan is that we want to stop buying fully built vehicles from abroad; we want to be able to have an assembly line where we can employ our citizens in an automobile production chain”.
Lagos Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Yetunde Arobieke; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat; and Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo during an inspection of the on-going construction of Lagos Leather Hub at Matori, Mushin, on Thursday
The Governor said the automobile assembly plant would create employment opportunities for local skilled workers, as 95 per cent of the workforce would be sourced locally. Some of the parts used in the assembly plant would be sourced locally, including air conditioning system, valves, ball joints, bolts and nuts, and batteries.
Sanwo-Olu also made a visit to the site of the Industrial Leather Hub being constructed by the state government in Matori Industrial Area, Mushin.
The tannery project was conceived by the Sanwo-Olu administration in 2020 for the production of leather products, such as shoes, belts, bags and upholsteries. The facility will also offer training opportunities for youths to learn skills in leather manufacturing and earn a living in the value chain.
The Governor disclosed that there would be 42 lock-up shops in the hub, where finished leather goods would be traded.
He said: “Raw leather exported to China and Europe are brought back to Nigeria in finished goods and they are more expensive. We initiated this idea of a leather hub to break into this economic cycle and add values to raw leather materials produced locally. The hub would be a primary manufacturing source for retailers in the ecosystem. There is a large leather market in Mushin to take up the produce to consumers; traders would no longer be burdened to turn tanned skins to finished products.
“The hub is about 65 per cent complete; the contractor has committed to the December deadline. We will give him two additional months, because we are expecting the equipment to be used for the leather production to start arriving from October. Economic value of this is that we can start and end the entire production process here in Lagos. Jobs would be generated and businesses would be developed”.
Sanwo-Olu said the completion of the hub would translate to generation of direct and indirect jobs for Small and Medium Enterprises in the ecosystem.