The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, has stressed the need for corporate governance in Nigeria’s manufacturing sector in order to harness the full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Represented by Dr. Rabiu Olowo, Director-General of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, at the 3rd Adeola Odutola Lecture at the 51st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the Minister expressed the readiness of the government to collaborate with MAN for the resuscitation of industrialization.
She emphasized the pivotal role of manufacturing in enhancing the country’s economic competitiveness, adding that the sector is the backbone of any economy.
The Minister listed four imperatives that must be combined by the government and the manufacturing sector to maximize the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA:
Robust public-private partnership, particularly in research and development, to enhance the strength of manufacturing.
Supporting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with capacity and potential for exports.
Investment in infrastructure and technology.
Enhancing quality standards and performance and adhering to international quality standards.
She maintained that the government is willing to support the establishment of research and development centers across the nation to enhance innovation and that manufacturers should be encouraged to create these centers.
The Minister also called on manufacturers to promote regional value chains and industrial clusters, particularly with the ongoing efforts to join the second phase of the guided trade initiative.
MAN President Decries Low Growth of Industrialization in Nigeria
In his address, MAN President, Francis Meshioye, decried the low growth of industrialization in Nigeria, saying that the sector’s performance over the years has been “undesirable and sub-optimal.”
He explained that the motivation behind the theme of the AGM, “Setting the Agenda for Competitive Manufacturing under the AfCFTA: What Nigeria Needs to Do,” is the need to position Nigeria as a competitive manufacturing hub of the African economy.
Meshioye said that there is no better time than now to capitalize on the opportunities presented in the AfCFTA to advance a competitive manufacturing sector in the country.
Former Minister Aganga Urges FG to Declare Industrial Sector a National Priority
In his lecture, Olusegun Aganga, former Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, noted that history has shown that industry multiplies national wealth, creates jobs, is critical for exchange rate and balance of payment management, and would make the Naira stronger.
He urged the federal government to declare the industrial sector a national priority sector and back it with plans, policies, and money.
Aganga pointed out that embracing competitive manufacturing under the AfCFTA is crucial for Nigeria’s economic growth and integration into the global marketplace.
He said that Nigeria may not be able to compete with China now, but by investing in infrastructure, innovation, and skilled labor, while addressing trade barriers, the business environment, and promoting market access, Nigeria can certainly position itself as the manufacturing hub in Africa.
Source: Sun Newspaper