Nigeria’s Vice President Osinbajo on Tuesday had a test-drive of a locally assembled electric car, Hyundai Kona. He drove the electric car at an exhibition tour of made-in-Nigeria products at the opening ceremony of a five day Nigeria @ 60 Expo being held at the Eagle Square in the nation’s capital, Abuja. The vice-president drove in the car in the company of Nigeria Automotive Development Council (NADC) Boss, Jelani Aliyu, and the Minister for Industry Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo.
The occasion was planned by the Inter-ministerial Committee on Nigeria @ 60 in partnership with Business Visa and Training Co Ltd. The aim of this occasion is to showcase goods and services Nigeria can produce with locally-sourced materials and expertise. This five day event is in continuation of the year-long celebration of Nigeria’s 60th independence which began on October 1, 2020 as directed by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking with the journalists afterwards, Osinbajo had this to say “A very good drive; fantastic; it just shows what is possible, I am glad to see that this is an assembled-in-Nigeria electric car. You can literally charge it anywhere; I think it is a very fantastic innovation; fantastic product, and I can tell because I drove it,”
Meanwhile, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, in his keynote speech, disclosed that the aim of the occasion was targeted to showcase what Nigeria could produce with local raw materials. Mustapha had this to say “To compliment the efforts of the Federal Government at ensuring that we produce what we eat and eat what we produce. In this context, we are to produce what we use and use what we produce.”
Also, Director-General, World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in a virtual message applauded the organizers for the efforts put in to showcase the development of Nigeria. She went forward to disclose that 9% of Nigeria’s 41million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, are into manufacturing. Dr Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala added that two thirds of these manufacturing small businesses are owned by women who have over time proven themselves to be fantastic manufacturers. She pointed out that, as in most countries, the MSMEs cater for the greater part of job creation, which provided employment for about 86% of the Nigerian workforce and accounting for nearly half of the GDP before the Covid-19 pandemic. She highlighted that more needed to be done in the area of trade to ensure adequate sustainability of MSMEs, which accounts for only 7% of export. MSMEs should be encouraged to contribute more to exports and foreign exchange earnings.