Manufacturers’ importation dilemma

Sir: Manufacturing is no doubt the bedrock of any nation’s industrialisation drive. In most countries this sector contributes 2-20% of GDP, Nigeria inclusive. Nigeria currently has over 2000 manufacturing concerns, both privately and publicly- owned. It is indeed a big manufacturing nation.

With the FOREX restriction policy of this administration, most companies can’t produce optimally, due to FOREX scarcity. Statistics says over 50% of our manufacturing firms depend on foreign output for over 60% of their raw material requirements. This ought not to be. The paints and pharmaceutical industries are the biggest culprits in this importation saga, they depend on virtually importing all their raw materials, from abroad. After doing the hard task of building factories, our manufacturing firms then lazily import their raw materials.

All manufacturing firms should have a research and development department spending 2-5% of annual sales to research local raw materials that can act as substitute for the imported ones. They should also partner with universities and federal government research institutes like the institute of industrial research and pharmaceutical research institute to conduct local research for raw materials. Government should also spend 0.5% of her GDP on raw materials research. If these strategies are adopted the trouble of chasing FOREX will subside and research jobs will be created locally.

David Atta,

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