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Other | 2015-05-23
Auto-Engineers brainstorm to promote sector

T

he Automotive Engineers Institute, a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers held its 4th National Conference to discuss the state of infrastructural development in Nigeria.

Speaking at the conference which took place recently at Command Guest House, Kaduna, the National Chairman of Automotive Engineers Institute, Engr. Augustine Okolo, who is also the General Manager Industrial Division, PAN Nigeria Limited, declared the conference open with the theme The Development of Sustainable Automotive Infrastructure in Nigeria.

According to Engr. Okolo, the theme was chosen to provide a platform for intensive and honest discussion that will enhance the new Nigerian Automotive Development Plan that was unveiled a year ago by the Federal Government of Nigeria and hoped that the conference would provide stakeholders the opportunity to deliberate exhaustively on issues that will impact positively on the Nigerian economy and the automotive sector in particular.

In his opening remarks, the President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi represented by Engr. Dr. Adelani Adetunji said "the theme of this conference; "the Development of Sustainable Automotive Infrastructure in Nigeria, is suitable. This platform is one of the numerous strategies of the Nigerian Engineers towards supporting the eff ort of building our country and the creation of diverse economic opportunities for our citizens.

"The development of the Z-600 prototype by Engr. Ezekiel Izuogu and INNOSON Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited (IVM) raised our hope that Nigeria is on track to making a major breakthrough in the automotive industry. This is urgently required to halt the expenditure of about 1.3 trillion naira spent on importation of cars into the country annually. Nigeria' success in this industry will enable the country conserve foreign exchange and make generous investments in education, healthcare, boost food production and other critical aspects of the economy that needs to be funded" he said.

In a keynote address, Engr. Mrs O.A. Awobokun who represented the Honourable Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Otom, expressed delight with the theme of the conference and contributions saying "you have indeed demonstrated that your institute is in tune with the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

"This Transformation Agenda was set up to position Nigeria as a leading industrial hub in the world, hence the ministry developed the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), launched by the President as the fl agship programme to rapidly industrialise, create jobs, economic and revenue diversifi cation, import substitution, export diversifi cation and broaden government tax base in Nigeria.

"The automobile industry is a pillar of the global economy, a main driver of macro economic growth, stability and technology advancement in both developed and developing countries. Therefore, if Nigeria develops her own it will bring about the development of critical infrastructures that will also be deplored to service other sectors of the nation' economy", the minister noted.

At the end of the two day conference, a communiqué was issued calling on government to redouble its eff orts in encouraging the development of mining, iron and steel industry to facilitate local content development in automotive industry and also encourage the participation of the private sector in providing inexpensive electric power and other much-needed infrastructure that would make Nigerian automotive industry competitive.

The communiqué further appealed to government to facilitate provision of funds at one-digit interest rate for indigenous investors in the automotive industry, so as to enhance the economic potentials of the sector, including employment creation, GDP contribution, skill development, technology innovation, stimulation of development of linkage industries, poverty alleviation and empowerment of Nigerians. To this end, members of the Automotive Engineers Institute beseeched the Nigerian government to encourage patronage of Nigerian automotive products by her agencies and individuals and in addition, pursue with vigour, the development of automotive supplier parks and clusters so that the economic viability and value of automotive plants are not impaired by capital expenditures.

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