As the Nnewi-based auto plant, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited (IVM) products penetrates markets in West African sub-region, the Ghanaian Government has sent a delegation to the company, to see to the possibility of selling up similar auto plant in Ghana.
Led by the Deputy Minister for Transport, Madam Dzifa Aku Attivor, the team toured various sections of the auto plant and briefly watched production.
Attivor, who said they were in Nigeria to explore the possibility of introducing some of Innoson Group’ products to the Ghanaian market, expressed satisfaction with the state of the plant.
Assuring that Ghana has a very friendly business environment which enhances quick return on investments, she enjoined the chairman of Innoson Group, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, to come over to her country. “I want to appeal to him to set up a plant in Ghana and he will have return on his investments, she said, is awaiting Innoson, if it decides to take the offer.
Ironically, the Ghanaian offer is coming at a time when the Nigerian auto makers, including the new Nnewi plant, are as usual going cap-in-hand to the Federal Government, appealing to be keyed into the N10 billion mass transit scheme being packaged by the Urban Development Bank which has already advertised this preference for imported fully built-up vehicles.
Though production at the IVM is yet to gather full momentum, the plant and the vehicles that have so far rolled out the production lines have been attracting attention from the ECOWAS sub-region at markets, Ghana being the latest.
The delegation commended Chief Chukwuma for his foresight and entrepreneurial acumen, which they said, were evident in Nnewi auto plant and his other investments in the manufacturing sector.
Both the Deputy Minister and the Deputy Chairman of Ghana’s ruling party (NDC), Simare Saleh, who was also part of the delegation, harped on the need to do away with the draw backs of the economic co-operation agreements by the ECOWAS sub-regional grouping, to ensure that business transaction boom among the peoples of the member states, as against the present situation where scarce resources are lost to imports from outside the African continent.
“If Innoson vehicles are good, reasonably priced and suitable for West African roads, it would amount to wastage to continue to go far for imports,” Saleh said, after the tour of the auto plant.
The chairman of the Group, Chief Chukwuma also disclosed plans to widen the product mix to accommodate more commercial and purpose-built vehicles including refuse collectors/compactors.
Reacting to the offer by the Ghanaian government, Chukwuma said he would give it a serious thought, after the Nnewi auto marker has stabilised.
“I consider it a big honour and privilege for the government of Ghana to make me such a rare offer. I will think about it. But for now, the important thing is to make sure that there is enough patronage for Innoson vehicles in Nigeria, and that Innoson itself meets the demand of the local market in terms of quality, volume and after sales support that is our major target for now. Of course after that we will be glad to hit Ghana, after studying Ghana market”, he stated.
Immigration Steps Up Anti-Touting Vigilance
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Passports Command, Ikoyi, has increased its surveillance on touting in a bid to check extortion within its jurisdiction.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with The Tide in Lagos, last Friday, the Immigration Comptroller, Passports Office, Ikoyi, Lagos, Deputy Comptroller Liman A.I , said the negative impact of touting on the nation’s economy would not be allowed to continue under his watch.
He said ,”we are applying persuasion, dialogue and seeking the support of all well meaning stakeholders in this area to spread the anti-touting message and dissuade people from unlawful acts. However, we could apply coercive power as the need arises.
“With the selfless leadership shown by the Comptroller General, Alhaji Mohammed Babandede, we at the PCO, Ikoyi, Lagos, have decided to re-dedicate ourselves to duty and complement the efforts of the CGIS.
“We are prepared more than ever to wage the anti-miscreants war relentlessly.
Liman assured the general public of friendly environment for legitimate transaction in an effort to strengthen the national economy, warning deviants to shun touting and other related vices.
According to him, “the command has keyed into the various strategies including the use of ICT in gathering of intelligence, among others.
“The service believes that the fight against miscreants within its corridor cannot be undertaken by the service alone, hence our call on Nigerians to partner with us in ensuring that the passport seekers do not patronise touts to defraud them. Our resolve is unshaken and our commitment is total”.
On her part, the Public Relations Officer of the command, a Deputy Superintendent of Immigration (DSI), Mrs Adetoun Shiyindemi, commended the Deputy Comptroller Liman, for his selfless service, pointing out that he has really given the officers and men of the command a sense of belonging.
“Since the Comptroller came in, it has been a servant-leader relationship here at Ikoyi PCO and we are all motivated to put in our best with what the CGIS has given us, you will see a new immigration service”, she assured.
By: NkpemenyieMcdominic, Lagos
Union Urges NIMASA, RSG To Dredge PH/Bonny Jetty
The Bonny Maritime Transport Association (BMTA) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Rivers State Government to dredge the Port Harcourt/Bonny Jetty to enhance marine operations.
The union said the low shore of the river hampers its operations and grounds boats.
The Marine Safety Officer, BMTA, Comrade Kings Don, who made the call, said the low shore of the jetty was not helpful to marine operations.
According to him, drivers and passengers find it difficult to ply the route whenever the tide is low, thus wasting man hours.
“Sometimes, we push the boat to a level it would afloat due to low tide suffered in the jetty. We are appealing to NIMASA and the state government to assist and dredge the jetty for more efficiency”, he pleaded.
Don described the Port Harcourt/Bonny Jetty as the gateway to Bonny Island and other riverine communities, and called on NIMASA and the state government to intervene and make the marine sector viable in the area.
He said that the prompt dredging of the jetty would enhance water transportation in the state and improve its revenue generation.
He, however, commended the security agents, especially the Nigerian Navy and the marine police, for rescuing the waterways and creeks from all forms of criminality.
Comrade Don appealed to the security agents to engage in 24-hour patrol of the routes and other channels to save lives and property.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Boat Mishaps: Ship Owner Blames Absence Of Safety Regulations
A renowned ship owner in the country, Alhaji Aminu Umar, has decried lack of standardisation and enforcement of safety measures on the nation’s inland waterways by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
He also blamed lack of will to enforce regulations, safety, standard and regulations on overloading, night voyage, rickety and old craft as causes of mishap on the inland waterways.
Alhaji Umar, who is a former president, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), said in Minna, Niger State, recently that enforcement of safety and standard on the nation’s inland waterways was weak.
Reacting to incessant boat mishaps in the country, Umar said, “there is no standard applied on movement of people, as all kinds of boat are being used. It is important that we standardise, because lack of safety and standard will increase accident.
“I think, the task of NIWA is to standardise conditions and procedures on the nation’s waterways”.
He also called for the regulation of movement of badges and passenger boats across the port environment.
“It’s a huge risk allowing badges moving containers around the port area side by side with boats carrying passengers.
“Moving people and containers at the same time is a huge risk, and a safety concern.
“NIWA and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) should see to this and tackle the menace”, he said.
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