By Prince Osuagwu
Auto manufacturer, Tata Motors has been commended for complying with the local content policy of the Nigerian government by ensuring that more Nigerians were part of its new auto assembly plant located in Lagos.
Director , Industrial Infrastructure, National Automotive Design and Development Council NADDC, Engr Waheed Adetoro, who toured the factory recently gave the Indian auto experts a clean bill of health in accommodating Nigerian workers, declaring that its tech transfer compliance is very elaborate.
Adetoro said that policy somersaults of the past which saw many foreign companies that established in Nigeria only employing their nationals and leaving Nigerians without any knowledge of what they used to do, would not be allowed to take place again.
He said the local content and tech transfer policies are priorities of Nigeria of today, considering the country’s quest to join the 4th industrial revolution looming large across the globe.
He said: “As you can see, Tata’s tech transfer compliance is very elaborate. Here, most of the staff are Nigerians and maybe 10 percent foreigners. We have also confirmed from their records that Nigerians are sent on competence and capability upgrade courses which will keep them constantly abreast of new trends in the auto world. We are happy with that
“Ofcourse, government is not ready to compromise the local content policy and so far the bill, the Automotive Development Plan Policy has been passed by the National Assembly waiting for the President’s assent. Once it is signed, the core operators in Nigeria will be protected.
In this plan there are centralised industrial areas where core facilities will be deployed; assemblies and manufacturing will be taking place there and Nigerians will serve as understudies in most of the plants” he added
He assured that increase in local content would lead to competitive vehicle prices, asking Tata not to relent in its efforts because “the country is appreciative of those who have faith in Nigeria considering that manufacturing is key to the economy of Nigeria. “We need to transform the sector from import dependent to full scale manufacturing with realisation of technology transfer to indigenous experts in the industry”
In his remarks, the Head of the Auto Division, Tata Africa Services (Nigeria), Suraj Prakash, claimed that “TATA Motors has a strong presence in Nigeria with investment of over $10 million. We started our assembly in 2016 in Nigeria which was well received by Nigerians.
“Our vehicles are well assembled and cost effective and better. Our vehicles are durable, up to standard and made for the Nigerian terrain. We will like to have more of government’s support on automobile policy because importation of used vehicles is of great disadvantage.
“Our vehicles are not expensive because most of the materials are sourced locally, so the cars are cost effective,” he said.
The Managing Director of IPI Ltd, Nunu Diwan, disclosed that his company which is the leader in steel fabrication in the country, went into partnership with TATA Motors, following the introduction of the auto policy by the Federal Government,
He disclosed that the plant assembles about four TATA trucks daily, with capacity utilisation that could be increased if the need arises, even as he hinted of plans to move from assembling of the vehicles to actual manufacturing by sourcing most of the components locally.