Stakeholders in the Organised Private Sector (OPS) on Tuesday said the manufacturing sector would play a vital role in the nation’s vision of becoming one of the leading industrialized economies in Africa.
The stakeholders made this known at the 2019 edition of the Nigeria Manufacturing Equipment Expo (NME) and Nigerian Raw Materials Expo (NIRAM) in Lagos.
Theme of the three day expo is: “Optimising the Value Chain Toward Growth and Competitiveness in the Manufacturing Sector.”
The expo was jointly organised by the Nigerian Raw Materials Expo (NIRAM), Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) and Manufacturing Partnership for African Development (mPAD).
In his remarks, Mr Mansur Ahmed, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said that the event provided a common ground for large manufacturing organisations and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
Ahmed said it would enable them to explore new production processes that would increase their outputs.
He said the expo was aimed at creating platforms where stakeholders in raw materials value chain would come together to synergise, display and trade in available resources and raw materials with users of these products.
“This event is to boost the technological base of the Nigerian manufacturing sector which is the bane of the sector’s growth and development.
“It also provides a common ground for large manufacturing organisations and SMEs to explore new production process that will increase their production output.
“With this in mind, we intend to close the information gaps and encourage local sourcing of available raw materials by manufacturing industries in line with the backward integration programme,” Ahmed said.
He congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on their victory at the recently concluded general elections.
Ahmed expressed confidence at the continuation of the bold and dynamic polices aimed at redirecting the economy toward inclusive growth.
“We commend the administration for the significant progress and the remarkable achievements in Agriculture and food security as well as the improvement of the business environment.
“We also acknowledge the government’s commitment to engage the organised private sector, especially through the industrial policy and competitiveness council and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP),” he said.
Also, Prof. Hussaini Ibrahim, the Director-General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), said the expo would promote the diversification of the economy in line with the agenda of the government by supporting economic transformation away from heavy reliance on oil and gas exports.
Ibrahim urged stakeholders to exploit the platform to facilitate higher value.
He said that the expo focussed on developing the manufacturing sector designed to promote quality growth, wealth creation and jobs provision.
“The expo has been useful in helping to create the much needed awareness to the increased local sourcing and utilisation of both primary and secondary raw materials.
“The result of the advocacy drive has helped in no small measure to improve our foreign direct investments through foreign partnerships and investment in local industry as well as enhance exportation of value added raw materials and products,” Ibrahim said.
Commenting, Mr Adeniyu Ogunsanya, the National Vice President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), commended the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, saying more needed to be done in the aspects of project implementation and enforcement.
According to him, efficiency of proper implementation of the various policies and incentives will assist the manufacturing sector to achieve a sustainable growth rate.
Also, Mr Russell Hughes, Group Director, Clarion Events West Africa, said industrialisation was the catalyst and backbone of economic development, adding that the expo provided gateway for interaction and exchange of ideas.