NATA News: Who are your partners?
Prakash: We are in partnership with Sinotruk, China and National Heavy Duty Truck Group Company Limited.
NATA News: What is your installed capacity per day?
Due to demand, we can assemble 16 trucks per shift and in the case where demand is high, we can assemble 32 trucks in a double shift operation. But for now, we are still operating one shift per day because. It is also important; to let you know that, since inception we have assembled close to 3000 trucks for Dangote Sinotruk assembling plant.
NATA News: Do you undertake training of engineers?
Prakash: Yes. We have a training center in our premises, which conducts customized training programs to train our staffs.
Note: we don’t do external training for the interested public but strictly for staffs.
NATA News: What are the challenges so far?
Prakash: Our major challenges is the issue of ports and power. At the Nigerian port (Tincan/Apapa), our goods always witness too much procedural delays and customs way of clearing goods from the port, which were beyond our control and in turn, it results into heavy demurrage and high cost of container storage at the port.
The second challenge being unavailability of power from the PHCN, compels us to spend so much money on diesel for operations. You can imagine using a giant gen set for a whole day and check the cost of running it like that for another two or three days, you will bear with me that it is killing because it gives us shortage and it id not every company that can stand this particular challenge.
NATA News: Has Government auto policies been favorable to your activities?
Prakash: Government auto policies are supportive to us and our activities but it still need to be more comprehensive.
NATA News: Which areas do you think the government can support you?
Prakash: Government should give more incentives to support Complete Knocked Down (CKD) operations. Secondly, vigorous efforts needed from government to develop Auto Auxiliary Industry to support our localization program and put policy that will mandate all government organization/institutions to patronize locally made products. Thirdly, we want government to take severe measures to discourage used vehicle importation and close porous boundaries to avoid smuggling of vehicles into the country.
NATA News: What is your plan for the rest of the year and next 2 – 3 years?
Prakash: We have planned to assemble more than 3000 trucks this year and as backward integration plan to commission a cab -fabrication and painting. Our plan is to also become a fully integrated company, manufacturing different types of trucks and buses for Nigeria and ECOWAS market, then; make it available locally at competitive prices.
NATA News: What is your message to your customers?
Prakash: My message is that, our customers should always look out for the best and durable services from us as we have always put them first in our considerations. I also advice Nigerians to always patronize locally made products which will help boom the economy.
•Interview conducted by: Cliffsimeon Akalonu