Primero Unveils Automobile Assembly Plant


Gboyega Akinsanmi

Primero Transport Services Limited, an operator of Ikorodu-CMS Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has agreed with a Chinese automobile conglomerate, Yutong Group to set up a multi-million-dollar plant for the assemblage of high occupancy vehicles (HOV) in Lagos.

Primero, a leading transportation and allied services provider in Africa, also disclosed that it initially planned to unveil the automobile assembly plant next month. It, however, said that the crisis in the country’s foreign exchange market altered the plan to start production of HOV in Nigeria.

The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Fola Tinubu disclosed the plan at a session with journalists in Ikorodu, noting that Primero had signed all papers with Zhengzhou Yutong Group Co. Limited.

Primero effectively entered into transportation service on November 12, 2015 after it signed a concession agreement with the Lagos State Government to operate the BRT lane starting from Ikorodu and terminating at CMS.

Consequently, it rolled out at least 434 Yutong high occupancy vehicles running 24 hours daily and seven days-weekly after the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode inaugurated its head office in Ikorodu.

At the session with journalists, Tinubu disclosed that it had perfected the agreement to build the assembly plant with Yutong Group, noting that the brand name of the joint venture “W.P. Industries.”
Specifically, he disclosed that the permanent site of the company “has not been completed. But the plant will start vehicle assemblage in Ibadan, Oyo State before the first quarter of 2018 ends.

“The reason is not far-fetched. It will take at least two years before the assembly will start producing vehicles. We cannot wait till that time. We then resolved to use an assembly in Ibadan before the permanent site is completed. We are going to produce the first set of vehicles in Ibadan,” he said.

The MD disclosed that the joint venture “will generate hundreds of employment opportunities ranging from engineers to painters, wielding specialists, marketers, accountants and so forth.

“It will be good for Nigeria. It will be good for our economy. We do not have to take money out this economy for any reason. We have what it takes to produce vehicles in Nigeria. That is why we came up with this initiative,” he said.

Tinubu, however, lamented various challenges Primero had been facing due to foreign exchange crisis.

On the BRT lane, he unveiled a new structure, which he said, would reduce fare by 25 per cent for commuters transiting between Ikorodu and Maryland as well as 16.66 per cent for commuters transiting between Ikorodu and Costain.

He said commuters going “to Maryland from Ikorodu will now pay N150 instead N200. This represents 25 per cent reduction. Likewise, commuters going to Costain from Ikorodu will now N250 instead of N300.

“This equally represents a reduction of about 16.66 per cent. We introduced the new fare structure ensure fairness and justice in our charging system. This review will not be the last. We will continue to review our fare structure to serve our customers better and guarantee their comfort,” he said.