The recently unveiled national automobile industrial development policy by the Federal Government has continued to receive commendations from stakeholders in the country, especially the local and indigenous automobile assembly plants, who have described it as one of the best policies of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Managing Director of an indigenous high-tech automobile armouring company, located in Ode Remo,Ogun State, Proforce Limited, Mr. Ade Ogundeyin, said if fully implemented, the policy is capable of boosting industrial activities in the sector and contributing towards achieving government’s targets for the economy by 2020.
He said the thrusts of the new auto policy, which are to encourage investments, enhance technological development and revive production activities in the industry, are akin to the vision of his company – to produce reliable and competitively-priced armoured vehicles locally, thereby making importation of such products unnecessary.
Proforce Limited specialises in developing and manufacturing armoured vehicles suitable for the operations of the military, police, and other law enforcement agencies. This is in addition to armouring vehicles for VIPs and corporate organisations, as well as making cash-in-transit vehicles for banks, armoured boats and rendering after-sales and maintenance services to all clients that own armoured mobility products.
Underscoring the high quality of the made-in-Nigeria armoured vehicles, Ogundeyin said their production is based on the global industry standards, including the European level BL 6+ and NIJ Level 111 (Classification: DIN EN 1522+DIN EN 1063) – which, according to him, means that the products of the plant in Ode-Remo are as good as those made in developed countries.
The new auto industrial development policy requires government and all its agencies to patronise only vehicles produced by the Nigerian auto industry, except where the needed products are not available locally. Government is also expected to raise the tariff on imported vehicles and introduce incentives to catalyse local production.
“These are very laudable plans which are capable of transforming the local industry. The impact will be felt in many ways, including the establishment of many small- and medium-scale support industries, job creation and increase in capacity utilisation. But, a lot will depend on whether government has the will to fully implement the policy, especially the area that concerns government at all levels and their agencies or departments buying locally made vehicles. Another critical area that requires firm action on the side of government is the one that introduces stiffer tariff structure for fully built imports, “ Ogundeyin said.
“For us at Proforce, our focus has always been to make the best of armoured vehicles for users in Nigeria, and beyond for export, because we have the capacity to satisfy the demand. That is why I said that the policy is in tandem with our own vision, and I want to add again that there is no need for government or anybody else to go abroad to import bullet-proof or armoured vehicles. It is a waste of resources. Why import at very high costs when there is a capacity to produce better vehicles at comparatively lower prices locally? This is an issue I hope the policy will address.”
He disclosed that Proforce is currently collaborating with Defence Industries Corporation and some para-military organisations for whom it makes Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and other armoured mobility hardware. The military and the police, as well as officers from other uniformed agencies, like the Immigration and Customs, had at various times tested Proforce vehicles, hailing their high quality standards.
Ogundeyin listed other products from the plant as Armoured Cash Movement Vehicle (bullion vans of different kinds); PF1 Mine Resistant Armoured Vehicle, PF2 Tactical Wheeled Armoured Vehicle, PF3 Armoured Personnel Carrier. At present, Proforce is armouring a range of Toyota Landcruiser, Mercedes, BMW, Range Rover vehicles for multinationals such as Nigerian Breweries Plc.
The Managing Director said all raw materials for armouring vehicles at Proforce, such as the’ body (ballistic steel that protects the sides, roof and under-bodies), and windows (ballistic glass) are supplied and fully certified for quality by the world leading suppliers of armoured vehicle components.
He said the materials are resistant to AK-47 gunshots and assaults with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), adding that all the vehicles are rolled by special run-flat tyres that can endure several kilometers journey even when deflated.
Proforce Limited also manufactures bullet-proof vests and helmets designed for military, police and other security agencies. Some of the products include Permanent Floating Vest, Advance Combat Vest, Armour Plate Carrier, Lightweight Assault Vest, Concealable Undershirt Vest and Inflatable Floating Vest.