By Oluwafunke Ishola
The federal government says its working tirelessly to formulate appropriate policies, initiatives and programmes geared towards solving identified challenges of the manufacturing sector.
Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said this during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Apapa Branch, on Thursday in Lagos.
Enelamah, represented by Dr Francis Alaniye, Director of Industry at the ministry, spoke on the theme; “Economic Recession and the Future of Manufacturing in Nigeria.”
According to him, government is concerned with challenges impeding the sector ranging from infrastructural deficit, high interest rate, dumping of substandard products, insufficient industrial skills and poor innovation.
He noted that effect of foreign exchange policy on imported raw materials, machineries and spare parts needed by manufacturers was worrisome.
Enelamah said that government would expedite the implementation of National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), harmonisation of quality infrastructure and certification, reforms in the power sector and review of trade, industrial and investment policies.
The minister said that the ministry was almost through with the review of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and ensuring an improvement on ease of doing business.
“All these policies are geared towards stimulating socio-economic development in the country,” Enelamah said.
Dr Frank Jacobs, President, MAN,called for improved synergy between government and manufacturers to drive the economy out of recession.
Jacobs, represented by Rev. Isaac Agoye, said fall in crude oil price, its attendant constriction on income and present economic recession demanded shift in attention to manufacturing sector to galvanize economy out of recession.
Jacobs called for speedy implementation of resource-based industrialisation policy that involves utilization of the nation’s abundant natural resources in producing products.
“I believe this policy will help to reduce the demand for forex to import essential raw materials for production, which has been a major challenge in recent times.
“The policy would not come without cost for some manufacturers as they may have to retool existing technologies and production processes,” he said.
Jacobs stressed that government has a major role to play towards making orientation of resource-based industrialisation successful.
“Government should create attractive incentives for investors who would engage in the processing of the abundant agricultural and mineral resources from primary produce to secondary or intermediate products.
“This would go a long way in attracting potential and current manufacturers into the use of local raw materials inputs,” Jacobs said.
Engr Bede Obayi, Director, Compliance and Enforcement, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) said ensuring quality products that are globally competitive would propel the economy out of recession.