PPP At Work: Fashola Commissions Automobile Services, Skill Acqusition Centre
• "Our biggest achievement will be the skilled personnel that will come out of this institution", he says
Jul 17, 2012 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Tuesday commissioned an automobile sales, services, training and skill acquisition centre in Ikeja saying the biggest achievement of the Government from the centre would be the qualified personnel that would be produced there from.
The automobile sales, services, training and skill acquisition centre named CG – Eko LLP Automobile Centre, is a Public Private Partnership arrangement between Messrs Coscharis Group and the Lagos State Government which has revamped the old Eko Engineering Ventures Limited into an ultra modern centre for the sales and service of automobiles which will also provide training and skill in automobile engineering for young artisans.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Governor Fashola said the concept and successful execution of the project underpinned the philosophy of his administration that Public Private Partnerships are very strategic tools for achieving its objectives in the State.
Governor Fashola, who gave credits to his predecessors for their initiative in establishing Eko Engineering Ventures Limited, however, said the failure of the venture to achieve the objectives for which it was established probably validates the popular thinking today that there are businesses that government should not be involved in.
"The concept of ownership necessarily requires that we should rethink and rework our models. It is not who owns the land; it is whether or not we can get skilled and qualified men whose core business is automobile sales, automobile maintenance and automobile re-fleeting to work for us, to give us what we want", the Governor said.
Canvassing partnerships in other sectors of the economy, Governor Fashola told the audience comprising captains of industries and company chief executives, "In your small businesses, what do you want to achieve? Must you own 10 acres of land just because you want to practice medicine? Somebody may be better equipped to build a hospital there. Somebody may be better suited to manage the hospital and maintain the equipment. You may need a surgeon to keep people alive. And these models are possible in other parts of our daily life".
On the partnership between his administration and Coscharis Group, Governor Fashola said Government was satisfied with the profit accruable to it from the collaboration which, he said, translates to the employment of employable young people.
"Why should we own 100 per cent of a business that is not our core area of business? We can't make the kind of profit Coscharis want to make; their profit is in cash. My own profit is in employing all employable young people; that will be our balance sheet", the Governor said.
Governor Fashola said aside from sales and service of all vehicles, the Centre would train artisans in automobile service and maintenance adding, "We want to build artisans who will keep our economy and who will keep the Nigerian economy. We are going to need them more than we imagine".
The roadside mechanics, the Governor noted, inflict all kinds of damage on cars in the process of effecting repairs because they are not adequately trained, pointing out that the damage would even be worse in future because while people have moved to new generation cars, the mechanics, who are familiar with the old carburetor cars, have been left behind unconsciously.
"These are the people the after sales maintenance service personnel that the partnership with Coscharis is bringing in. So, this is another big leap to empower those who will drive our economy – the artisans", Governor Fashola said, adding that the Centre would also service, maintain and re-fleet vehicles of the State-supported Security outfit, the Rapid Response Squad which, according to him, informed the need for the centre in the first place.
The Governor said the artisans would be vital in accomplishing the new focus of the Government on Power, Agriculture, Transport and Housing (PATH) adding that there is no way any of these would be achieved without the artisans.
"They are the cornerstone of our economy. In the farmlands we need tractors and when tractors breakdown, we need artisans to service and maintain them. Also our electricity Board is employing them now. You see street light on now, what I see is young artisans getting jobs", the Governor said.
He thanked the Coscharis Group for accepting to work with his administration to drive the economy pointing out that unlike other companies which remit their taxes to the Federal Government, the Centre was established under the State's Limited Liability Law and, therefore, the tax would be kept in Lagos.
"What we have done here is to create this limited liability and in a joint venture like this, after we have worked so hard, this is one business that we must keep the tax in Lagos", Governor Fashola said adding that it is an inventiveness using law as a model for getting tax advantages, though, according to him, "This is not to say we should not register our companies in Abuja; but when creativity like this come, there must be also a way to keep the benefit locally".
In his remarks earlier, President of the Coscharis Group, Dr. Cosmas Maduka, described the Centre as "the brainchild of the visionary leadership of Governor Babatunde Fashola" adding that the idea was to get a resource pool by getting young people to train as technicians.
"To the glory of God, we are celebrating a good idea, an excellent idea, the brainchild of the visionary leadership of His Excellency, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Governor of Lagos State. This was a facility that was dilapidated. It is exciting that the facility has come to fruition to create a resource pool where organisations in the automobile industry can draw manpower for their services", the Coscharis boss said.
Expressing gratitude to the Governor and the Director General of the Public Private Partnership Office, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi, the Coscharis President declared, "We are trying to rewrite the history of automobile service in Nigeria. If you visit here, it is equivalent to a first class hospital where we give excellent service to the people and value for their money".
Earlier in his welcome address, the PPP Director General, Mr. Ayo Gbelehyi, said the Eko Engineering Ventures Limited, the precursor of the CG –Eko LLP Automobile Centre was initially set up to maintain and service vehicles of the State's Ministries, Departments and Agencies adding that the CG –Eko LLP Automobile Centre would sell, service and maintain various brands of vehicles as well as serve as a resource capacity building centre.
The Director-General, who expressed gratitude to Governor Fashola for his support, said the Centre would train up to 650 technicians over the next four years adding that the training would have great impact on road safety and security.
Also present at the occasion were the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaiye, Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, his Budget and Economic Planning counterpart, Mr. Ben Akabueze, CEO CG-Eko LLP Automobile Centre, Mr. Ekpenyong Duke and former Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Kemi Nelson, among other members of the State Executive Council, Private Sector operators, ACN Chieftains and top government functionaries.