By Ebere Obike
Foremost Nigerian Industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote says Nigeria can be transformed from a developing nation into a fully producing and industrialized society within ten years or less by implementing long-term policies that promote manufacturing.
Alhaji Dangote stated this , Tuesday while delivering the 2nd Adeola Odutola lecture of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, in Lagos. The lecture is one of the major activities for the MAN 50th AGM which opened on the Monday and closes on Thursday with the MADE IN NIGERIA Exhibition.
In a paper entitled, ” Agenda setting for industrialising Nigeria in the next decade” Alhaji Dangote said the drive to transform the country’s economy into an industralised nation has been the goal of successive governments since independence.
He stated that the nation was doing well in the 1970s and 1980s but afterwards things became bad and have remained so up till now.
Alhaji Dangote advised that to bring the nation to the good old days , the government must develop and implement a long-term policy manufacturing, which among others will address obvious setbacks including multiple taxation, scarcity of forex, poor infrastructures and dearth of skilled workforce.
He also noted that the provision of long term credit to manufacturers at single digit interest rate, embargo on importation and tackling of insecurity would enable the speedy industralisation of the country.
In his words, ” The drive to transform the Nigerian economy into an industralised nation has been the goal of successive governments since independence.
“Regrettably,the industrial sector contribution to aggregate output has been on the decline, which is in part responsible for the sluggish pace of economic development and increase in poverty.
“It is imperative that we focus on sectors with great potential for inclusive growth then prioritizing growth divers.
“Sustainability must be central to our industrial development agenda and so the efficient utilization of resources, the encouragement and the welfare of our host Communities must be given due attention.
“There is also the need for government at all tiers to ensure that they consult widely with relevant stakeholders when taking far reaching decisions in key sectors of the economy. This will make it much easier for manufacturers to make long-term business plans.
In addition, policies that have been tried and tested should be backed with an Act of parliament to make it justiciable and less susceptible to arbitrary changes by successive governments” , Dangote said.
The President/CEO Dangote Group urged that, ” Nigeria needs to henceforth intensify efforts at promoting industrialization with specific focus on the attainment of the following targets in the next 10 years: 15 percent manufacturing sector growth, 20 percent manufacturing contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 15 percent growth in export of manufactured products, 10 percent increase in the share of manufacturing to total merchandise, stronger inter-industry linkage between SMEs and large corporations, Improved manufacturing contribution to Government tax revenue and 20 percent in manufacturing employment”.
According the Africa’s richest man , the last two years has been a disaster for the manufacturing sector following forex crisis, COVID 19 pandemic and other issues that crippled businesses, with a lot of manufacturers yet to recover.
The President of MAN, Mr. Mansur Ahmed had remarked that the manufacturing environment has been quite challenging.
Mr Ahmed however stated that Government through it’s institutions especially the Ministry of Industry,Trade and Investment has tried to support Manufacturers to remain in operation.
The event paraded array of dignitaries and organizations from across the globe including ECOWAS Commission, British High Commission and diplomats from Cote D’Ivoire, Tanzania and other countries.