“Industrialisation of Nigeria to join hands with the government and civil society”
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, event patron of mPAD & Nigeria Manufacturing Expo 2016, through its annual forum held an explosive interaction of the Manufacturing sector during the 43rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association held on 7 October 2015 at the Grand Ball Room of the Oriental Hotel, Lekki.
The theme of this year’s meeting was “The Future of the Manufacturing Sector”; this topic could not have been more apt as it resonated also with the choice of the guest speaker; Dr. Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa.
The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Dr. Frank S. Udemba Jacobs (MON) stated this in his speech when he said “Dr. Mbeki as guest speaker was chosen after a review of his antecedents and achievements as President of South Africa.
He stated further that during Dr. Mbeki’s tenure, The South African economy grew at a yearly rate of 4.5%. Similarly, massive employment was created in the middle sector of the economy, leading to the creation of a large pool of middle class, especially with the implementation of Black Economic Empowerment, which led to a high demand for trained professionals. South Africa also attracted enormous Foreign Direct Investment, making it the focal point of African growth.
He concluded by saying, these are the things we expect of the Nigerian manufacturing sector now and in the near future.
Continent loses $50 billion every year
Whilst speaking at the event, the former South African President, Dr. Thabo Mbeki, said the continent loses at least $50 billion every year through trade miss-pricing which would make an important and positive contribution to the continent’s development efforts including industrialization.
“As we indicated, regarding the need for national cooperation in developing the Industrial Revolution Plan, so do we need similar cooperation to defeat the scourge of illicit financial outflows. I am therefore suggesting that MAN and the rest of the corporate sector should take it as one of their tasks in the context of the industrialisation of Nigeria to join hands with the government and civil society to fight against the illicit financial outflows,” he said.
With opening statements such as these, an already charged audience with great expectations eager to listen to the direction of Governments policies and commitment to tackling and improving the state of Manufacturing in Nigeria and impact was not lost on anyone sitting in the room.
Like the long overlooked bride, the economy is turning to the manufacturing sector to alter its fortunes after the global effect of the fall in price of crude oil and the need to salvage the local currency and increase earnings of foreign currency.
Agreement disadvantageous to the Nigerian economy
The subject matter of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and West Africa generated a huge applause from MAN members, Invited guests, Captains of Industry and Chief Executives within the Manufacturing sector, when the President of MAN, Dr. Jacobs described the agreement as disadvantageous to the Nigerian economy.
If signed in its present form, he said; it would not only retard and destroy the fledging industrialization of Nigeria, but will orchestrate serious social challenges as a result of job losses and also worsen unemployment situation.
The Vice President; Yemi Osinbajo who represented the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his speech also stated that the current CBN Forex Policy was implemented to protect the manufacturing sector and increase local production; however it was still under review to ensure that its application does not hurt the market but ensure that items that should be eligible for foreign exchange are not left out.
Power supply to industry
Power generation was a significant issue in the Vice President’s speech as he reiterated Governments efforts to boost power supply by middle of next year to about 5,000 megawatts.
“We are discussing extensively on power supply on a daily basis because we believe that the manufacturing sector is critical for economic growth and job and wealth creation,” he stated.
The Economic structure of Nigeria must be diversified to ensure job creation, sustained growth and development of other key sectors such as agriculture, mining, amongst others, he stated
In closing the Vice President said, “We are creating an enabling environment for things to fall in shape. We believe the manufacturing sector is key to attaining our set objectives as government to create job opportunities for our youths. There is no way we can achieve economic growth without diversifying our economy through agriculture value chain, mining, oil and gas and the likes, but the missing link is the manufacturing sector,” he said.
Locally manufactured products to compete globally
The MAN President and its National Council Members led the guest speaker, Vice President, dignitaries and guests to the exhibition booths of the MAN members, whose companies all manufacture made in Nigeria products cutting across food, beverage and tobacco, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, textiles, construction, industrial plastics foam and rubber, pulp, paper and paper products amongst many others.
Despite the many challenges the local manufacturing companies have to deal with on a day-day basis the display of locally manufactured products that can compete internationally left no one in doubt of the resilient spirit of the Nigerian manufacturer to succeed despite all odds and to place Nigeria on the map for greatness through manufacturing.
Posted by: Tatyana Sychova, Marketing Manager, CLARION EVENTS, United Kingdom (12-Nov-2015)