By Sylvester Iloba
The automobile sector activity in Delta State would receive a boost as the long awaited Asaba Ultra- Modern Mechanic Village and Auto Parts Complex which had been under construction is billed to be opened for business in no distant time.
The Chairman of the Delta State Investments Development Agency (DIDA), Mr. Paul Nmah, gave the indication when he paid a scheduled visit to the Asaba Ultra-Modern Mechanic Village at Asaba in Oshimili South Local Government Area of the state.
According to Nmah, the establishment of the mechanic village and auto parts complex was a deliberate effort by the Delta State Government to have a world class mechanic village that would accommodate all service providers in the automobile industry in one particular location.
“Before the establishment of this mechanic village, automobile mechanics, artisans, spare part sellers and all ancillary activities were scattered all around the state capital; thereby, making it cumbersome for customers to easily obtain services and to facilitate proper monitoring of their activities in order to cater for their welfare,” he said.
“However, with its establishment, which is a private sector investment, facilitated by DIDA, the activities in this sector will now be properly monitored,” he added.
“My coming here today has enabled me to see first-hand that a lot of work had been done. I have equally told the project developer that there are just little additions to make in the aspect of provision of a Fire Service Station, Bank and also they would need to partner with the BEDC to ensure a steady supply of power.” Nmah said.
He expressed satisfaction at the level of work done so far and said that he was optimistic that the project was almost ready for inauguration for shop owners to commence their business.
The Chief of Staff, Mr. Festus Ovie-Agas, who, was part of the entourage that visited the mechanic village, spoke on the various incentives the Delta State Government had made available towards making the state investor friendly.
“You will recall I was involved at the signing of the MoU of this particular project and we as a state government were optimistic that this was the right way to go to get a befitting mechanic village,” he said.
“Haven come here today, I am satisfied with the level of work done. However, there are still one or two things to be done which I have communicated to the site engineer,” he added.
The Chief of Staff used the opportunity to invite other investors to avail themselves of the investor friendly environment in the state.
In his words, “Delta State is ripe for business. So, I urge investors to take advantage of the environment that we have created. The enabling environment that the state government has created is a win-win situation for all the participants,” Mr. Ovie-Agas said.
Speaking on the project being in line with the State Government policy on investment, he said that since the Government of His Excellency Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa came on the saddle in 2015, he had invested heavily on security, roads, bridges, drainages, provision of electricity, water and other facilities.
He noted that the Mechanic Village will provide employment for Deltans which according to him is in line with the State Government policy of Job and Wealth Creation.
“In this particular place artisans will be engaged. Our young men and women who are interested in acquiring skills will find this place beneficial. Mr. Ovie-Agas said.
The Director General DIDA, Chief Lucky Oghene-Omoru on his part said that the Mechanic Village is a result of DIDA’s effort at intensive marketing of the investment opportunities in Delta State.
He said that it is a fact that most people go to Onitsha and Nnewi from Asaba and other parts of the State to buy vehicle spare parts.
He added that some vehicles, especially the exotic ones are even taken to Lagos for maintenance and repair.
According to him therefore, the Asaba Ultra-Modern Mechanic Village and Auto Parts was the answer to the huge gap in these areas of vehicle maintenance repairs and dealership.
He noted that it is in line with the Delta State Government investment drive.
“After the tour of today we have seen the huge investments this Mechanic Village is going to attract to Delta State. Firstly the big tyre companies comprising Dunlop and Michelin have already taken position and these are world brand. Others are going to follow.
“In the area of auto service and maintenance and repair of vehicles, you can see that so many have already located, from what we saw today a lot of spaces have already been taken.
“You have seen that although the investment has not been officially inaugurated, business had taken off.” Chief Oghene-Omoru said.
The Director General noted that the Mechanic Village with the huge space available within the premises had the potential of hosting a National or International Auto Show.
In his words, “the advantage of having a dual carriage way leading to the east and other parts of the country, added to the advantages of having the Asaba Airport and also hotel facilities to cater for would be participants of the International Auto Show would make the prospect of an auto show possible. Therefore we can see in the near future most of the vehicle brands being sold in the Mechanic Village.” He said.
The DIDA DG further stated that the Mechanic Village was a project of about N3.5billion naira purely on a PPP basis with Government providing the land and the investor provided the funds.
He noted also that the State Government had approved subsidy for the rent in order to facilitate the process of occupying the shops.
The DG thanked His Excellency for his support and also the investor for having confidence in investing in Delta State.
On his part the Managing Director Re-Homes Property Development Co. Ltd, Developers of the Asaba Ultra-Modern Mechanic Village and Auto Parts Mr. Chima Ofoma said that they have put in a lot into the project and that it is almost ready for inauguration.
He noted that in addition to the construction of the Ultra- Modern Shops for vehicle maintenance and spare parts shops they have completed the perimeter fencing with gate and also completed the construction of toilet facility.
He emphasized that the Mechanic Village has a total of 704 lock up shops of which the owners had started taking charge.
“You can see Briscoe and Michelin had taken possession of their shops and had branded it to their specification.” Mr. Ufoma said.
He said that the Delta State Government had been supportive so far and pleaded for more support in the areas of provision of fire service truck.
Also present during the visit were DIDA Management, Mr. Ferdinand Ezievuo the site engineer and Mr. Afam Nkenchor, Counsel to Re-Homes Property Dev. Co. Ltd.