Buhari pledges more patronage of local goods
President Muhammadu Buhari said his administration was making efforts to encourage more patronage of made-in-Nigeria products.Buhari spoke yesterday in Abuja at the 44th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) with the theme “Diversifying the Nigerian economy: The role of government in manufacturing.”
He explained that the manufacturing sector was strategically positioned to be a major driver of the country’s economic growth in view of the nation’s huge natural resources and the entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians.
“We are working on improving the patronage of locally made goods, bridging the gap between skills required by industry and those provided by our educational institutions and access to finance for our Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
“We recognise that MAN and the other Organised Private Sector (OPS) groups are our key stakeholders in this journey and we will continue our engagement with you,” the president stated.
Buhari explained that his government’s strategic plan to boost manufacturing in the country was predicated on the support from the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprises Development Programme (NEDEP).
At the event, the Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, lamented the decline in the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the country’s economy.He said recent figures indicated that the manufacturing sector contracted by -2.9 per cent in 2015 as against growth rates of 21.8 per cent and 14.7 per cent in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
“The aggregate manufacturing jobs created in 2014 and 2015 were 20,535 jobs as against 53,340 created in the sector in 2013 alone. These figures merely confirm what we already knew which is that the manufacturing sector in Nigeria is currently under very serious strain.”
Dangote further said it had now become expedient for the country to urgently develop other income streams by diversifying the economy since it could no longer depend solely on crude oil exports to fund the economy.
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