Government committed to industrial policy implementation
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah.
The Federal Government has expressed commitment to the industrial policy in a bid to improve local production and enhance competitiveness.
Besides, it added that it has attracted over N3.7tn through the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), from its 51 projects through Public-Private Partnerships.
Speaking at the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) public lecture in Lagos, at the weekend, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said that government leveraged comparative to make Nigeria competitive for local production and thereby increasing the contribution of manufacturing to GDP.
The minister said: “We have stepped up and are aggressively implementing the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) by the establishment of the Nigeria Industrial Policy & Competitiveness Advisory Council (Industrial Council) that comprised of the Government and Private Sector representatives at the highest level.
“We are implementing sectoral policies for areas in which we have comparative advantage – primarily in Agriculture and Petrochemicals. Examples include the National Sugar Master Plan; and the new Tomato Policy approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). Initial results include increased local production of sugar, particularly in Niger and Adamawa States by Golden Sugar and Savannah Sugar. Although some of these areas have been affected by flood, Government is working hard to bring relief to the people and communities.
“We have commenced the establishment and upgrading of some existing industrial parks to world-class parks; and we are working towards the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs) across the geo-political zones in the country.
On activities of Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises, he said the administration was making sustained efforts to build capacity, increase access to finance and eliminate bottlenecks to conducting business.
Enelamah noted that the inauguration of the National Council on Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (NCMES) to increase focus on MSMES and boost their development has increased access to finance by providing capital for both start-ups and expansion.
The minister further explained that over 750 Nigerian MSMEs have benefited from the services of the project’s trained Business Development Services Providers (BDSPs) and over 21,000 Nigerian MSMEs have received technical assistance including training offered by EDC/Lagos Business School.
In his remark, President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Babatunde Ruwase, said: “We need a strong economy to guarantee security and ease social tension. We therefore should continually emphasize the value of entrepreneurship, enterprise, hard work, professionalism, excellence and integrity in our economic environment.
These values are essential for a sustainable wealth creation process, which are economy and entrepreneur.
“It is the entrepreneur that makes things happen in an economy. They are the drivers of the economy and the creators of wealth. An economy can only be as robust as its entrepreneur. Therefore if we must make progress in this economy, our private sector would have to play a major role. The public sector would also have to create the enabling environment.
“The way forward for our economy is to do everything possible to encourage entrepreneurs and professional. This is the way to go if we must diversify our economy, create more jobs, reduce unemployment, minimize criminality and above all, advance the welfare of our people”.
The Director General, Industrial Training Fund (IFT), Sir. Joseph Ari, said that the need for industrial transformation of Nigeria cannot be overemphasized, adding that United Nations General Assembly identified the need for industrialization of African countries which include Nigeria and proclaimed 2016 – 2025 an industrial decade for Africa.
Ari said: “For Nigeria to attain this level the industrial transformation of Nigeria should be the concern of all. Our efforts should be geared towards bridging all gaps identified with regards to industrialization”.