As Nigerians prepare for a national dialogue, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Apapa Branch, has called for an all embracing discourse that will take the plights of manufacturers in the nation into account.
Making the call at the association’s 42nd Annual General Meeting in Lagos, the out-going chairman, Mr. John Aluya, said the discourse should be focused on ways to reduce trade malpractices with a view to giving local manufacturers enough support to develop local capacity.
According to him, “With the planned national dialogue, our political structure should not only be the fulcrum for discussion. The promotion of better and conducive business operating environment should form part of the discourse.
“This is because as an open economy that depends heavily on imports, stability of the polity and the economy is crucial for manufacturers.
With our level of economic development, such discourse must take concrete actions against trade malpractices such as dumping, smuggling, under invoicing among others with a view to give local manufacturers adequate support to develop local capacity.”
Speaking on the theme of the event, ‘Increasing the Utilisation of Local Raw Materials through Product Research to Enhance Competitiveness’, he regretted that despite the fact that Nigeria is a resource-based economy, over 80 percent of its industrial raw material are still imported.
This, according to him, is because of dearth of raw material extraction and processing locally, adding, “Official statistics says most of the locally-produced raw materials in the country are in unusable state and therefore, require value addition before they can be used by industries.”
“Experts say that the mix of climate, vegetation and geological factors make Nigeria a natural zone for diverse agricultural, mineral and renewable resources. These resources had for a long time not been optimally exploited because of the dominance of petroleum as the main source of national revenue,” he lamented.
He also called for a more integrated programmes from research institutions that will open up more collaboration for product research and development.
He further stated that in addressing some of the challenges militating against the manufacturing sector in the country, efforts should be made to increase the level of contribution of the manufacturing sector to the GDP through policies and programmes that would aid the completion of investments in core industries such as the proposed Integrated Refinery in Olokola Free Zone, Ondo State, saying that it will provide another source of raw material for petro-chemical based industries.
He said that such investment commitments must have intra-industrial linkages for value addition to enhance the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises through utlisation of abundant local raw materials in the country.
“In creating these inta-industrial linkages, other sub-sectors of the manufacturing sector will look at ways to enhance their backward integration programme with primary production sources yielding positive results.
“This is with a view to increase the percentage utilisation of local raw materials from 48 percent to 55 to 60 percent by year 2015,” he added.
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