‘Poor performance of real sector responsible for exposure to shocks’
STAKEHOLDERS including the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), among others have stated that Nigeria may need to do more in harnessing the potential of the manufacturing sector if the nation will be protected from constant shocks from global economic downturn.
According to the stakeholders, while Nigeria and other African countries may presently be benefitting from the slowdown in developed economies, there is need to improve the poor performance of the manufacturing sector, especially as regards its contribution to the
Speaking at the investment conference organised by the LCCI as part of the activities for this year’s trade fair, Country Representative, UNIDO, David Tommy noted that Nigeria can be self-reliant if it encourages value-addition of commodities being exported to developed countries.
He explained that Nigeria has one of the highest return on investments despite the risks associated with the business environment, adding that manufacturing should be seen as sustainable solution to the nation’s economic woes.
Similarly, he advised the Federal Government to fix the industrial skill gap in the country for sustainable development.
Representing 44 per cent of the country’s population, Tommy, urged the government to harness the potential of youths by investing in capacity building initiatives so that the youths can contribute meaningfully to the nation’s development.
He added that most youths in Nigeria have the required qualifications, but lacked the relevant skills for sustaining development in Nigeria, saying, “it is essential to have these youths train as interns in factories to acquire the relevant skills.”
He stressed that change in mindset, paradigm shift from quick fixes, improved manufacturing sector would facilitate the required change vital for growth and value addition.
The UN scribe stressed the importance of utilising the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) blueprint for boosting performance of the manufacturing sector.
He said that the change mantra of the current administration should be approached holistically by comparing and copying results from other countries.
On his part, LCCI President, Remi Bello explained that the chamber sought address the challenges with attracting investments in the country, adding that the report by the World Bank on ease of doing business still showed a dismal performance by Nigeria, though with marginal improvements in some indicators.
“The much need industrial revolution in Nigeria requires massive inflow of foreign investments into productive sectors of the economy. There is therefore need for strong institutions with strong adherence to sound corporate governance and international best practices. Government needs to put in place a conducive policy and business environment where investments can thrive”, he added.
Executive Secretary of the NIPC, Mrs Aisha Hassan Baba added that the Council has developed an investment promotion strategy to make the Nigerian investment environment more investor friendly adding that the aim to take Nigeria to a future beyond oil.