The National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) has entered into discussions with the Katsina State government for the setting up of an integrated and sophisticated automobile mechanic and motor spare parts village in Katsina State. The village would help regulate mechanics in the state and also serve as a skills acquisition centre for apprenticeship, in addition to creating jobs.
The project is to provide training, monitoring, evaluation and appraising of staff performance to ensure that the village is equipped with a pool of highly- trained technicians.
It would be administered by international trained engineers to train to train local people as technicians.
The project followed a concern that poor environmental state of mechanic villages affects the health of both the technicians and customers. There was also a concern that the youths do not apply for apprentice positions, but instead preferred hiring motorcycles at hire – purchase.
The Council believes that the use of the latest equipment combined with harnessing international quality standards would ensure the created village’s environmental impact was reduced, this is also in addition to the jobs that would be created
Speaking during a visit to the Katsina State governor, Alhaji Aminu Masari, yesterday in Abuja, director-general of the Council, Mr Jelani Aliyu, said the Council was ready to collaborate with the state to create a world class mechanic village and also get the right expertise in terms of training.
While stating that the establishment of the mechanic village would boost local content in the production of made in Nigeria vehicles, the DG regretted that the sum of $8billion was spent on the importation of about 300,000 to 400,000 used cars and spare parts yearly.
“About $8 billion go overseas for importation of vehicles while Nigerians are suffering, also most of the used vehicles imported are unsafe and not good for the citizens,” he said.
He disclosed that the NADDC gave out loans totalling N11billion to 36 companies that were setting up. Out of this amount, he confirmed that 20 companies had repaid their loan of N7.75 billion in full.
The disbursement according to him, was to support the auto policy of the federal government.
He further dropped the hint that the Council was constructing three automotive testing centres, three automotive industrial parks and seven automotive training centres in Zaria, Enugu and Lagos as part of strategies to ensure the successful implementation of the auto policy.
On his part, Masari said the presence of the mechanic village in Katsina State would herald a new dawn of development in the state, in addition to also reducing the level of unemployment.
He said Katsina State was looking to save revenue that was being lost and to see how, through the mechanic village, there would be cross-fertilisation of ideas which would be of immense benefit to the entire country.
He advised that government should demonstrate the political will to implement the auto policy in order to save the huge sum spent annually on the importation of used vehicles and spare parts.
“We all appreciate the role of transportation in the economy because it is the backbone of the economy that have enough potential. The problem we have in the sector is that things are not done in an organised manner. If there is regulation, I think a lot of money will be saved. Nigeria is the only country where you can bring in a 50-year old car and will even be plying the roads. The slightest problem is to cause loss of lives, because the vehicles are tired vehicles,” he said. There are so many areas you can look into to see how you can help states to develop the kind of manpower that would be suitable,” he added.
The governor promised to give all the necessary support to the Council on the planned project in his state.