Senate begins tour of industries over auto policy

The Senate Committee on Trade on Thursday visited The Stallion Group at its VON plant to review the readiness of the company for the newly approved auto industry policy.

According to a statement by Stallion, the oversight visit was meant to examine the industry’s readiness for the introduction of the policy.

The members, who were conducted round the auto plant, expressed satisfaction at the progress made so far.

“The meeting encouraged management not to relent in meeting the 2014 proposed deadline for the introduction of locally-assembled passenger vehicles into the auto market,” Stallion Group said in a press statement.

The statement quoted the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Odion Ugbesia, as commending the achievement of the company within the short time, encouraging it to ensure it met the spring target for production of saloon cars.

Also, a former Minister of Information and a Director of the company, Dr. Dora Akunyili, expressed delight at the achievements of the company, stressing that it required tremendous faith in the future of the economy for the company to have invested so much of its resources in the industry.

She called on well-meaning Nigerians to encourage initiatives aimed at expanding the productive base and creating employment.

The Senate committee members inspected the production lines, the minibus assembly and the commercial trucks line, and the partially completed passenger car lines, it stated.

The company said the facility plant will assemble 45,000 units of vehicles per annum.

On the newly announced auto policy, Stallion noted that industry players had been in discussion with the National Automotive Council and Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment for the past 18 to 24 months.

The minister had met with Original Equipment Manufacturers, including Toyota, Hyundai and Nissan to receive their inputs into the policy and to solicit their interest.

The management of the company further stated that it had been told the policy was being formulated and would be released in due course.

The auto policy was announced on October 2, this year.

The committee noted that many OEMs never wanted the policy as it would require their principals to establish plants in Nigeria.