By Anthony Nwachukwu
To assist the manufacturing sector in achieving sustainable national economic growth, the Federal Government said it would strengthen collaboration with the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) to implement sector-specific guidelines.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka Anite, made the commitment in her keynote address at the ongoing 7th Nigeria Manufacturing and Equipment EXPO (NME) and 9th Nigeria Raw Materials EXPO, which opened in Lagos Tuesday.
Reflecting on the theme of the expo, “Future Manufacturing: Building a Sustainable Roadmap to the Industrialisation of Nigeria,” Anite acknowledged manufacturing as a cornerstone for job creation, value addition and a robust workforce.
According to Anite, who was represented by Mrs. Olumuyiwa Ajayi-Ade, government’s policies center on “creating enabling environment, incentivising production activities and promoting the use of Made-in-Nigeria products to boost the competitiveness of our manufacturers.”
She disclosed that the present administration recently established a presidential council for industrial revitalisation, while various workgroups and task forces have been formed to effectively implement the council’s mandate.
These include sub-committees on consumer credit, commodity exchange, heavy industries, steel development, trade facilitation and ease of doing business, licensing and certification of artisans, trade facilitation and realisation, mining and solid minerals, oil and gas, and creative industries.
“Through fostering innovation, championing local content and strategically investing in critical infrastructure, we have the potential to catalyse the development of a robust and globally-competitive manufacturing sector, thereby significantly contributing to our economy,” Anite said.
“As part of this commitment, the president has pledged to allocate N75 billion for 75 manufacturing enterprises to access N1 billion credit at a 9% interest rate per annum. This initiative aims to expedite the transformation of the manufacturing sector.”
Therefore, the government urged an intentional shift of focus towards non-oil sectors, including agriculture, textiles, automotive, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy.
“We must leverage emerging trends such as artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to enhance our manufacturing processes, improve efficiency, and drive productivity.
“By adopting these cutting-edge technologies, we can boost the competitiveness of our local manufacturers and position Nigeria as a global manufacturing hub. The future of manufacturing also lies in harnessing the potential of renewable energy sources.
“Additionally, we must prioritise the development of our raw materials sector to support our manufacturing industry. By focusing on value addition and local sourcing, we can reduce our reliance on imported raw materials and improve the overall competitiveness of our products.”
Earlier in his welcome address, President of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Francis Meshioye, said that Nigeria at this point in its economic development needs to establish synergy between its trade and industrial policies.
He insisted that “beyond manufacturing, all industrial and commercial businesses in the country also suffer from energy inadequacy and inefficiency.
“The vision of industrialised Nigeria would remain an illusion until we resolve the constraints that affect the ease of doing business in the country.
“It is for this reason that investors in the economy will continue to push for sustained effort to bring about significant improvement in the quantum, quality and consistent supply of electricity.”
He explained that the expo offers stakeholders an opportunity to examine the manufacturing sector and chart development through the Manufacturers Partnership for African Development (mPAD) and Master Class Sessions.
“Through this annual event which provides a common ground for large manufacturing organisations and SMEs to explore new production processes that will increase their output, MAN has taken the challenge of leading the sector to play a vital role in the nation’s vision of becoming one of the leading industrialised economies in Africa,” he said.
The NIRAM Expo is aimed at creating a platform where stakeholders in the raw materials supply chain will come together to synergise, display and trade in available resources and raw materials with the users of these products.
The theme of the 2023 EXPO “is informed by the unprecedented rate at which our world is changing in terms of innovative technologies, shifting customer expectations, as well as increasing social awareness of gender equity and restoration of previously marginalised communities.
According to Meshioye, these major shifts have a considerable impact on the future of the sector, as manufacturers would be well-positioned in the future to compete favourably in the industrial marketplace.
However, this is only possible “if manufacturers can efficiently balance a combination of efficient economies of production and supply chains, strong and reputable products, loyal customers, an established logistics network, as well as reliable on-line business elements.
“By successfully assimilating advanced technologies into their systems, existing and prospective industrialists can expect to realise even greater revenue and profits from their investments.”