Toyota Group has made known its intention to invest in several sectors in Nigeria apart from automobiles. The President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the group, Ichiro Kashitani, said this during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
During the bilateral meeting which held at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7), in Japan, Kashitani said Toyota was targeting sectors like energy and healthcare.
Although Toyota also plans to invest in Nigeria’s automobile industry, the car manufacturer wants to provide a solution to Nigeria’s health sector problem which has made government officials and affluent citizens seek foreign medical care.
The company wants to build an advanced medical diagnostics centre to dissuade Nigerians from seeking medical care abroad. According to Toyota, the goal is to be present across Nigeria. This is in line with the statement made by Nobumitsu Hayashi, the Deputy Governor of Japan Bank for International Cooperation, that it was willing to support projects that involve Japanese companies in Nigeria, including oil and gas and infrastructure.
Buhari wants an assembling plant: While Toyota has plans for energy and healthcare, President Buhari wants the company to expand its investment by building an assembling plant in Nigeria. In a statement made by the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President said Nigeria is a land that possesses revenue opportunity.
According to him, Nigeria can ensure there’s profit on investment made by the Toyota Group. This is what President Buhari is offering the carmaker to lure them into establishing a vehicle assembling plant in Nigeria.
President Buhari’s suggestion came weeks after Nairametrics reported that Toyota had made an investment in Abia State to boost the region’s automobile industry. The automobile maker established an ancillary auto centre in Umuahia where it would run a range of top-line vehicles.
Why it matters: If Toyota eventually builds a car assembling plant in Nigeria, regardless of its location, it will boost job employment like the ancillary auto centre will. The plant will create job opportunities for both skilled and unskilled Nigerians.
Toyota is a key driver of labour force globally, accounting for 364,445 employees worldwide in 2017. The company was the sixth-largest company in the world by revenue as of September 2018. The centre will contribute to much-needed employment opportunities at a period the country’s unemployment number is high, and the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Labour and Employment, in May 2019, announced that unemployment rate would reach 33.5% by 2020.