The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has declared that the manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy needs an immediate intervention to enable the country come out of its recent economic predicaments.
The President of MAN, Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs, at the weekend noted that attention should be focused on the manufacturing sector consequence upon its very high capacity to transform the economy, create employment for the citizenry, create wealth, transfer technology and improve the general living standards in the country.
Udemba who disclosed this at the 2016 Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) Summit and Award Ceremony held in Lagos, noted that the manufacturing sector has a very high tickle down effects on many sectors of the economy with its ability to catalyse other sectors such as agriculture, solid minerals, petro-chemical forestry and many more that could produce needed raw material input for the sector.
He pointed out that Nigerian government was compelled to restrategise and take a serious look at the option of diversifying the economy due to the decline in price of crude oil in the international market where most oil exporting countries especially those that relied mainly on crude oil found themselves in financial trouble.
According to him, “Nigeria unfortunately became a mono-product economy, with the discovery of crude oil, after allowing the erstwhile foreign exchange earners such as cocoa, groundnut, palm oil and others to die. Alongside this, the industrial sector which had started to show great potentials and which was making steady progress in the past, was neglected. Unfortunately, income from the export of crude oil was not utilised in developing the necessary superstructure which would have set the pace for the development of an enduring industrial sector.”
DG Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Muda Yusuf, said the solution to recession lies with private sector investment, urging the federal government to support private sector investment by providing enabling environment.
“With this, no matter the capital or investment you inject in the economy or your business, it will not show. We need a more enabling environment in the infrastructural perspective,” Muda said.
The guest speaker, Mr. Ikpong Umoh, MD, Stellarchem said, had Nigeria invested all the money it made from crude oil export, the country probably would not be where it is today, adding that the country could not invest oil money because it was exclusively controlled by the centre.
“It was the centre that decides when to spend the money and when not to, the centre was in-charge of the oil proceeds because we run a mixture of a unitary, parliamentary and even a feudal system of government while pretending to be democratic.
“If we must tell ourselves the truth, we must get down the root of what has brought us to where we are, the cause of the problem in Nigeria, the political structure in Nigeria has an overwhelming influence in the direction of our economy. The times we are today could be said to be a mirror image of the time we were between 1983 and 1985, at that time, there was scarcity of forex which created import licence cartel,” he said.
Umoh said that to effectively diversify the economy via industrial sector, the government must look at the obstacles that impede the establishment and growth of the industrial sector, stressing that collapse of electricity supply impacted negatively on capacity utilisation as adequate supply of power is a sine qua non to industrial growth and development.