The Rivers State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Port Harcourt Spare Parts Dealers Union, the umbrella body of spare parts dealers in the state to build an international Automobile Market where the traders will be relocated.
This is in reaction to wide spread belief that the state government would chase the spare parts dealers out of their present location at Ikokwu, in Diobu Mile II, without making alternative provisions to relocate them.
The State Governor, Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi, signed on behalf of the state, while the Commissioner for Urban Development, Barrister Osima Ginah, signed as a witness.
Also, the union executives, their legal advisers and other bodies involved, also signed the MoU, under an umbrella body which they named Spare Parts Auto-Technicians (SPAT).
According to Barrister Ginah, Governor Amaechi signed the MoU to prove that his administration was prepared to take the automobile business to an international standard, even as he urged them not to fail in fulfilling their part of the agreement.
“The government had approved 25 acres of land for the dealers to build the automobile international market along Elelenwo, the same location for the proposed Port Harcourt International Market,” he said.
He said that according to the equity formula in the MoU, the state government has 20%, while the dealers have 80%.
Ginah explained that the state government sited the automobile market where the Port Harcourt International Market is aslo sited to make the garden city, the business hub of Africa and the world.
Going by the MoU, the time limit for SPAT market complex to be built and become fully operational is 18 months and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Grand Support Engineering Limited, the firm handling the multi-million naira spare parts market project, Mr. Clifford Aluge, told newsmen in an interview that the market would be ready as agreed.
He stated further that the market would be the biggest in the South-South region of Nigeria, adding that it would equally create massive employment for youths in the state as well as accrue huge revenue to the state government.
“The market is to have a multi-purpose hall to train youths in various automobile skills and hotel, schools, healthcare centre, bank including other facilities that could be found in international automobile markets.”
Leaders of the various unions, who spoke separately, thanked Barrister Ginah and Governor Amaechi for their non-discriminatory style of leadership and pledged to work even harder to ensure that the agreement reached was implemented to the letter.