The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo stated that integration of Automobile Industry is a sector replete with huge potential and his ministry is unrelenting in effort to mitigate challenges confronting the sector.
Adebayo made this known at the launch of Africar, a ride-hailing brand in Ibadan, Oyo State capital recently and was attended by government officials and industry stakeholders.
Africar, a part of the Stallion Group, is a technology startup with a vision to operate and develop transporting solutions through ride hailing.
The Minister, in a statement, noted that Africar has the potential to transform the transportation industry in the state providing both employment opportunities and low-cost rides.
The Minister said, “A ride-hailing app that uses only locally assembled cars has the potential to transform the local industry. Integration of Nigeria’s automobile industry is a key presidential priority area. It is an area with huge potential and the ministry is working assiduously to mitigate the challenges it has faced and to revive the sector.
“The company’s focus on the safety and security of its passengers is commendable. I have had the opportunity to see the tracking systems and I have also met a few of their drivers who seemed well trained and disciplined.
“My interest in this project however is not limited to the consumer benefits. My interest also lies in the fact that all the cars been used for this project are assembled in Lagos at Stallions VON Badagry Road Plant. Africar, in partnership with the NADDC, the parastatal under my ministry, has developed the car that we see here today.”
According to Adebayo, if the initiative can be accepted nationally, it will support millions of families across the country and have a major impact on local auto assembly and component manufacture.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde through his Chief of Staff, Segun Ogunwusi stated, “This event, the Africar launch, attests to the business-friendly atmosphere for investors, made possible by this administration. I therefore wish to congratulate Stallion Group on this occasion and I hope that with this launch, we will have more interesting fruits as we work together for the well-being of the people of Oyo State.”
The governor added that the State is witnessing a tremendous growth in the transport sector since the inception of this administration in the areas of transport infrastructures and procurement of vehicles for Mass Transit.
Speaking at the launch, the Chief Exexutive Officer, Sahil Vaswani said, “The company, in partnership with NADDC has introduced Bajaj Qute, a car that is assembled in Nigeria by Nigerians to support low cost and affordable transportation for the masses and environmentally friendly with 50 percent lower carbon emissions than a regular car.
“We believe in Africar, we can help youth empowerment through employment in the automobile sector, from the assembly factory, service stations, etc. Currently, Africar has thousands of drivers that have diplomas that need job opportunities. There is huge employment potential as relative to market potential. Creating growth of SMEs to support assembly plants, service stations and other ancillary industries. With the growth of Africar in various cities, we would be supporting tens of thousands of families all over Nigeria.”
The Marketing Manager, Ani Rosemary said, “After the soft launch in Ibadan, Africar has garnered more than 100,000 downloads and thousands of successful rides in a very short span of time. Africar has been well received in the city of Ibadan. The acceptance of the brand in Ibadan says a lot about the growth potential of the company in various cities of Nigeria.”
The COO, Joe Mathews added that the customers of Ibadan have shown a lot of interest in the service and feel that the integral part of Africar is its reliability, disciplined and well behaved drivers.
“One of the most important aspects of Africar is that once you have booked a ride, you can rest peacefully as the driver will be at the doorstep to pick you up without cancelling the ride which is a predominant issue in Nigeria.”
According to the statement, part of the vision and mission of the ride include to reduce unemployment in Nigeria; provide reliable and comfortable and affordable transport solutions in every state for the masses; provide eco-friendly solutions for lower carbon emissions; assist and develop the Automobile Industry including the SMEs and other related ancillary industries.
Story by Olusegun Obisanya