THE PUNCH NEWSPAPER – President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday expressed the belief that with the measures put in place by his administration, especially the new National Automotive Industry Policy; the country would soon be exporting cars to other countries.
Jonathan spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while granting audience to a delegation of the business community from Anambra State led by Governor Peter Obi.
In responding to an address by the delegation, the President said, “I will refer all the issues you raised to the various departments of government. We are totally committed to creating jobs. Nigeria is a country with huge population of youths. If jobs are not created, there will be crisis. The housing, agriculture and power sectors are also receiving attention.
“In the next few years, Nigeria will begin to export cars to other countries. We are encouraging the government to support local manufacturers.”
Jonathan promised that the industrialists’ basic needs such as roads, power and port facilities would be addressed appropriately.
He said if Nigeria must become great as expected by all, the Federal Government must industrialise the nation.
To this end, he said his administration would continue to encourage industrialists in the country.
“If any country will be great, we must industrialise. If Nigeria must be a great country, we must industrialise. To this end, we will continue to encourage industrialists in Anambra,” the President added.
He said his government was also devoting attention and resources to the power sector because of its critical role in industrialisation.
Vice-President Namadi Sambo told the delegation that Jonathan had recently approved $3.7bn to improve power transmission across the country.
Obi had earlier told the President that the enterprising and preserving nature of Anambra people made them well-positioned to assist Jonathan to achieve his administration’s transformation agenda.
While declaring the support of the people of the state for Jonathan, Obi said, “You have excess credit in your political account that these people (members of the delegation) are ready to pay you when you need it.”
The governor said he led the delegation to express their support for the President and bring to his attention some of the industrialists’ collective, which if addressed, would help in anchoring the growth and development of industry in the state.
Some of the needs, according to him, are the completion of the 330/132/33KV power substation at Nnewi; provision of uninterrupted power supply in the Onitsha Harbour Industrial Area and Ozubulu Industrial Hub; completion of the Nnamdi Azikwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi; and the inclusion of Anambra State in the rail master plan.
Obi also made a case for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of federal roads within the state such as the Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe Section 1, Nnewi-Okija, start of Onitsha Second Niger Bridge, completion of the Onitsha-Enugu dual carriageway and completion of the Umueze-Anam Kogi road.
The governor also thanked the President for the inclusion of Nnewi in the National Automotive Industry Policy of the Federal Government.
This, he said, would attract many ancillary industries, especially with the coming on stream of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, adding that the local content in vehicle manufacturing in no time would increase from 40 per cent to 60 per cent.