Business Hilights
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Politics played on privatization of steel firms, PHCN killed manufacturing—Innoson boss

Chairman of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) Innoson Group, Dr. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma has given a graphic diagnosis of the challenges of the heavy manufacturing sub sector of the Nigerian economy.

In an interview, he revealed that the epileptic growth and closure of mega manufacturing firms using iron products and quantum power are linked to the privatization of Nigerian steel firms and Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to hands without the needed technical ability and service delivery.

According to him, “If Ajaokuta Steel Company was working; it would have helped in making the price of cars come down. We are still getting most of our iron for manufacturing cars from outside the country. And though we are getting some from Nigeria, but mostly, we are using imported iron products. We don’t produce iron on our own”.

On what went wrong with Ajaokuta Steel Company, Dr. Chukwuma was quick to recall that “I think the foundation for Ajaokuta Steel Company was wrong. It was not good enough to satisfy the market. Nigeria has wasted a lot of money there and I don’t see much coming out of the place. They need to get strong foundation”.

Giving further insights on the privatization of the nation’s power company, IVM boss averred that “Since government privatised such organisations as the PHCN, Nigerians have seen the unfortunate things happening there”.

He queried if “We go on privatising things without having people with adequate knowledge to manage it?

To him, “I don’t think privatisation is the problem. The problem is getting the right experts that can handle it”.

“If privatisation had gone well, it would have given Nigerians better ideas on privatisation. If privatisation of PHCN has worked out well, it would have been easy for government to continue with privatisation in other areas. If it did not help, I don’t think it will encourage more privatisation.

Explaining more on the multiplier effects of his company, Dr. Chukwuma revealed that apart from providing credible alternatives to foreign cars and use of ‘Tokunbo cars’ by Nigerian through the massive production of strong and durable vehicles, he said Innoson Kiara Academy (IKA) is doing well in allied job creation to the economy.

He said “At Innoson Kiara Academy, we train people on skilled jobs. We train young artisans on how they can stand on their own. They are trained on how they can open workshops to maintain vehicles in any parts of the country”.

“We train them on how they can become good mechanics, electricians or panel-beaters, among others. We have trained about 400 people, and we provide automatic employment for those who want to work with us. But if you don’t want, you can set up your own workshop in any part of the country to maintain vehicles. After the training, we give you certificate. The maximum duration of training is nine months, depending on your ability.

“You know when somebody is idle, he or she will start to think of what is not good for the society. But when they have such training to empower them, they will be able to help the economy grow. They are enabled to help the society, instead of becoming a liability. They have to pay some fees to enroll for the programme. It is an academy, where we train them in both theory and practical.

According to the Chairman of IVM Innoson Group, Dr. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma, “Some of the ex-militants we trained are working in oil companies. Some of them who were trained in welding were employed to maintain pipelines. Before, they were unemployable, but they have become employable after our training”.

Business Hilights recalls that only last week, the company completed a deal to supply 400 new cars to Mali and there are more African countries whose supply proposals are being considered by IVM.