TODAY, we are faced with a precarious situation where paucity of dollar and other hard currencies has led to a spiral fall of the naira. The reason is not farfetched, especially as oil prices fell from a high of about $115 to as low as $28. Yet, it is commendable that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has swiftly swung into action by paying attention to local manufacturing and agriculture. Certainly, this policy of diversification has the potential to extricate Nigeria from the vagaries of over dependence on oil as the only source of revenue.
The federal government policy of diversification is intended to reduce our dependence on oil as we are not in control of the oil price dynamics. Even OPEC as a body has not been able to rein in recalcitrant and over producing countries like Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and as a result oil prices continue to fall uncontrollably.
The negative impact of this is today starring us in the face with the price of dollar against the naira riding to astronomical level. Another debilitating factor against our oil dependent economy is the cost of producing one barrel of oil in Nigeria, which is as high as $15, since much of the deposit is offshore, while it costs a country like Saudi Arabia as low as $1 per barrel because their oil is drilled onshore.
There is the need to focus on such local manufacturers like INNOSON vehicle manufacturing company which has made a mark as the first indigenous vehicles manufacturing firm. With over 10,000 Nigerians in their employ, INNOSON has the potential to fill the yawning gap that scarcity of dollar and other foreign currencies has all ready created in purchasing vehicles and other products from abroad.
Furthermore, if given more support INNOSON will boost Federal government’s effort at job creation and with a population of over 170 million people and youths making up of close to 60%, all hands must be on deck towards ensuring adequate engagement of youths. INNOSON as a company has the capacity to employ many of them and equip them with necessary skills for their sustenance.
Apart from creating jobs for our youths, INNOSON has the capacity to transfer the necessary technology that can position Nigeria as an industrialised economy. Lest we forget, Ford Motors USA owned by the Ford family was in the fore front among other companies that pioneered the American industrial revolution.
Obviously, the oil glut can indeed be turned into a fortune for Nigeria if the Federal government supports such companies like INNOSON to reach their fullest potentials. As a country we must begin to look inwards and tap the numerous potentials inherent in our people.
It is indeed a great feat for an indigenous company to venture into a terrain as automobile manufacturing that many thought was the whiteman’s exclusive reserve. It clearly demonstrates patriotism and faith in Nigeria’s economy. What is remaining is for the various tiers of government to take it a notch higher through a guaranteed patronage.
Moreover, government should avail INNOSON group all the necessary incentives that will enable them sustain their manufacturing activities. INNOSON as a company is already a pride to the country as their vehicles are now sold and driven in some African countries.
Granted that a few components of the vehicles are imported, yet it is common knowledge that this is the practice globally. No single company is able to produce all the components of any particular brand, but substantially the parent company is responsible for the final output, and this is the case with INNOSON and other brands.
Until we begin to demonstrate our patriotism by patronising locally made vehicles such as INNOSON, we cannot realise the vision of exporting other made in Nigeria products to other countries. As a country, our technological breakthrough will not happen overnight, but through such deliberate and bold efforts being taken by companies like INNOSON.
Besides stimulating the economic growth of a nation, automobile manufacturing also facilitates transfer of necessary technological knowledge that is required for any county to emerge as an industrialised economy.
Similarly, local manufacturing of vehicles helps to conserve the elusive foreign currencies like Dollar, Pounds sterling and Euro. When this is done it enhances our foreign reserve and gives us a mileage in terms of balance of payment with other countries.
Therefore, the need for all government ministries, departments and agencies to look inwards in terms of procuring their operational vehicles cannot be over emphasised. We should therefore adopt INNOSON a Nigerian brand, as ford is to USA and Mercedes to Germany, and considering Nigeria’s population, space and resources, it will be easy to dominate the West Africa market with INNOSON vehicles that are proudly made in Nigeria.
Taking into consideration that the issue of rise in the price of oil is not within the control of Nigeria and indeed OPEC, it makes sense that we concentrate on the areas we can control such as automobile manufacturing. In this area we have a surfeit of local raw materials and indeed other factors of production like labour and capital.
As it stands today INNOSON has proved that it is possible, and governments at all levels should take it a notch higher by patronising their vehicles and providing them with necessary incentives.