By Paul Chukwu
The Federal government has expressed its determination to encourage indigenous inventors and manufacturers to achieve their lofty dreams, while contributing to the Nigerian economic growth and development.
The Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, gave this assurance during the week while inspecting an indigenous vehicle (Iyi Combatant ) built by an Imo citizen, Engr. Ephraim Akwiwu, at his production yard in Owerri.
He said that with the strong implementation of the Executive Order No.5, propounded by President Muhammadu Buhari, which has to do with ease of doing business in the country, such policy would enable entrepreneurial minds like Engr. Akwiwu to compete favourably with their counterparts anywhere in the world.
The Minister however expressed happiness at Engr. Akwiwu’s technological ingenuity and speed, adding that he has keyed into the changing direction of the ministry, which according to him is geared towards effective use of our resources to grow Nigeria’s economy.
While advising Engr. Akwiwu to strive to back up his works against intellectual property theft, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, further pledged the readiness of his ministry to look into some challenges affecting the growth of the EJAAS auto industry.
Earlier in his address, the Chief Executive Officer, Ephraim & Joe-Ann Akwiwu Auto Shop, EJAAS, Engr. Ephraim Akwiwu, expressed his profound gratitude to the minister for his visit as well as his great encouragement, describing it as a quantum leap and a morale booster in his quest to contribute meaningfully to the technological growth of the country.
While relishing his parents’ invaluable contributions to his quest for quality education, Engr. Akwiwu revealed that his vision to contribute his quota to the transformation of the Nigeria automobile industry remained his driving power upon his return from Spain in 2011.
He explained that EJAAS started with the application of advanced technology to motor vehicle maintenance services, adding that EJAAS formally ventured into car manufacturing in 2016 with the unveiling of IYI COMBATANT-2016 model with some notable features.
He added that errors encountered during the maiden manufacturing expedition prompted the construction of IYI COMBATANT-2017 and significant improvement was recorded, stressing that IYI CELEBRITY 2018 model was ongoing and would be characterized with interesting features like 1.8 litre Automatic Transmission, Automatic Air Conditioning System, Global Positioning System, Controlled Speedometer, among others.
Engr. Akwiwu, however enumerated several challenges affecting the auto industry to include, funds, energy, inadequacy of production space and rigorous registration processes and appealed for assistance from the federal state governments.