How Dangote keeps the South East economy running
THE Nigeria automobile industry, no doubt is one of the worst hit since the introduction of the nations auto policy some years ago. From the lo cal manufacturing to the importation, the sector has faced challenges over a period of more than seven years.
While most manufacturers have packed their bags and baggages and left the country, importers could not afford to bring in new vehicles while the used cars market has continued to blossom with all manner of used vehicles including accidented ones.
For the major auto plants, the options available include laying off of staff and closing down of the plants as a result of lack of patronage, forex availability and other harsh economic realities.
With patronage of locally assembled vehicles at its lowest elb, most Nigerians and corporate organisations have resorted to buying used vehicles which come with all manner of problems while some have continued to maintain their old vehicles at very high cost.
Given this situation, it is the only local manufacturers with patronage that can still hold their heads high and this is where patriotic individuals and companies which have the love of the country distinguish themselves.
One of such organisations is the Dangote Group which has interest in several sectors of the economy. Rather than relying on fully imported brands, Dangote has decided to channel its resources to support a Nigerian truck manufacturer, Transit Support Services which represents China’s leading truck manufacturer, Schacman Trucks, a decision which led to the revival of the moribund ANAMMACO plant in Enugu.
With the recall of over 220 ANAMMCO staff and 15 expatriates, the factory that was in a comatose state is now burbling with life, courtesy of Dangote Group support to the plant. Conducting journalists round the huge plant built over 30 years ago, an excited chairman of Transit Support Services Limited, Mr. Frank Nneji said: “what you are seeing in the plant today is with the full support of Dangote Group.
“This is to correct the impression by many that Dangote Group is ignoring the Eastern part of the country in its investment programme. We are franchise holder of China’s number truck marker, Schacman. We started local assembly five years ago at a time Dangote Group was looking for locally assembled trucks for its businesses across the country.”
According to Mr. Nneji, the company started with the production of 49 trucks and entered into an agreement with Dangote to produce the truck brand locally at ANAMMCO plant in Enugu which was out of use for seven years. With this development, all ANAMMCO staff came back to work and the Onne Port in Rivers State began to witness activities and this is the way the Dangote Group is keeping the South East economy running. It is estimated that over N63 billion has been injected into the economy within the period Dangote teamed up with the Transit Support Services to assemble cars at ANAMMCO plant.
“With the chain reaction from the plant, a technical school has been set up to train staff, many auto component markers are identifying with the plant, while activities around the plant has generated over 400,000 jobs, according to the Transit Support boss.
“The area around the plant is fast becoming an automobile cluster because Enugu is a motor city. We have local suppliers too as well as our own in-house workers. This has provided training on how to produce the trucks with the well experienced staff we recruited”, Nneji added.
Presently, Mr. Nneji explained that the company produces over 200 trucks monthly comprising three different models, with local content of about 22 per cent. He added that the company is capable of increasing its production if there is demand for such.
Apart from assembling the truck at the plant, the chairman disclosed that the chassis numbers are locally generated and printed on the truck engine, adding that the brand Schacman has about 15 models of truck but only three models are being produced at the plant at the moment.
The trucks assembled at the ANAMMACO Plant is of the same quality with the ones from China says Mr. E. Udochukwu, the Plant Manager, who explained that every job at the factory is according to standard by Schacman in China. Quality control is carried to the last point in our production and no customer has every complained about our trucks in the last five years that we have been on the Nigerian road.
Responding to questions on if Dangote has been satisfied with the quality of vehicles from Transit Support and Schacman, Mr. Sunday Esan, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Dangote Group said “if we are not satisfied, we won’t invite the journalists to see what we are doing in ANAMMCO.
“Dangote has need for quality trucks like Schacman. We are starting our refinery, the biggest in Africa; we are players in other sectors of the economy, we will rely more on this plant, though we have our own truck plant, but it can’t meet our demand.”