By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government has flagged off this year’s Argungu Festival Automobile Rally with a huge parade of locally manufactured and assembled vehicles.
Speaking at the flag-off exercise in Abuja on Wednesday en route Argungu, Kebbi State, President Muhammadu Buhari said the nation’s tourism sector holds huge potential for the economy.
The President expressed his readiness to develop the sector as well as the automotive industry which is capable of generating billions of dollars annually to the country’s coffers.
Represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, Buhari said the use of locally produced and assembled vehicles in this year’s Argungu festival,was part of efforts to boost and showcase Nigeria’s automotive industry.
“The Federal Government will continue to give the necessary support for the Argungu Fishing and Cultural Festival and all other festivals in the country in a bid to boost tourism.
“We are committed to diversifying the economy through industrialisation and tourism,” he said.
In his welcome address, the Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr Jelani Aliyu, said the agency would not relent in its efforts of working with relevant stakeholders to develop Nigeria’s automotive industry in line with international best practice.
While commending the support of the present administration which has seen a robust growth in the Nigerian automotive sector, the NADDC boss said the array of locally produced vehicles for the motor rally testified to the success story being recorded in the sector.
“The locally manufactured and assembled vehicles to be used for this year’s festival is a confirmation of the zeal to drive industrialisation through innovation in the auto sector,” Jelani said.
Also speaking, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, said the motor rally would cut across five states before reaching Argungu, its final destination on Friday.
He explained that the festival which was halted due to insecurity challenges is now back and better with the indigenous assembled motor rally which constitute one of the 16 items of the celebration.
On his part, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said the motor rally would go a long way in promoting Nigeria’s Automotive industry.
“I am delighted to participate at this morning’s flag-off of the 2020 Argungu Motor Rally, which showcases the ruggedness and reliability of our locally-assembled vehicles to both local and international audiences,” the minister said.