To kick-start cabin production next month
Currently building about five units of vehicles on a single shift per day, Dangote Sinotruck West Africa Limited has revealed its first set of locally assembled truck in Lagos.
The Lagos-based plant, which the orgnaisation said would turn over at least 10, 000 truck yearly to support government initiative in the automotive sector is expected to kick-start production of truck cabin by next month, the company’s Group General Manager, Projects, Hikmat Thapa, and other senior managers told journalists during a tour of the assembly plant in Ikeja.
Thapa said the project is currently at its first phase, noting that the second phase, expected to begin in June would create two shifts per day of 24 hours daily operation to move the operation from Semi-Knocked Down parts to Completely Knocked Down.
He noted that the plant, which currently employees about 200 people, hopes to increase to 400 people in the next phase of the project and finally employ about 1500 Nigerians with supporting employment of 3,000 jobs.
The organisation was optimistic that it would meet truck demand in Nigeria and further export the vehicles to meet market demand of West Africa region.
“With the formation of the production base, not only the market demands in Nigeria can be met, but also the requirements of covering the neighboring countries will be gradually met.
“As soon as we move on to 24-hour daily operation, we will churn out between 20 and 30 trucks per day. We are starting with SKD and now waiting for the CKD parts coming at the end of the month,” he said.
Speaking about local content and skills transfer, the organisation was optimistic that the operation, particularly the cabin production would drive significant per cent of local content addition and provide adequate transfer of skills.
The $100 million assembly plant is a joint venture, controlled by Dangote with a leading share of 65 per cent and Sinotruck of China has 35 per cent, Thapa said.
Noting that the firm would assemble and produce full range of commercial vehicles covering heavy duty truck, medium truck, light truck and other semi-trailers, he said the company has detailed plan to eventually produce engine in the country.
“Through years of efforts, Dangote Sinotruk West Africa Ltd. will develop prominent advantages in market network, product, technology and quality, and established a distinctive cultural concept,” the organisation said.
The company is also hopeful that the initiative would provide new employment opportunities, improve local automobile technology, equipment and technology level, promote the economic development in Nigeria and play key role in developing heavy-duty truck industry in Nigeria.