The 2016 annual lecture of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria which held on Thursday, focused on diversification of the economy as a key solution to the current economic recession.
In his keynote address, the Guest Speaker at the event and Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, noted that manufacturing is at the centre of economic diversification.
According to him, the time is ripe for the country to stem the outflow of foreign exchange by weaning itself of the propensity to import what manufacturers can produce locally.
On the role of the government in attracting and facilitating long-term investments from the private sector, Dangote noted that one of the steps to be taken by government should be the articulation of clear sector-specific policies along with incentive packages that are commensurate with the risk inherent in each sector adding that this step should be accompanied by consistent implementation of industrial policies.
He said, “Policy inconsistency destabilises industrial production plans and erodes investor confidence. For instance, the suspension of the Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate to exporters and non-payment of existing claims have discouraged non-oil exports and frustrated contracts entered into with overseas buyers.”
He also called for more support for small and medium scale manufacturers, adding that many Nigerian manufacturers were relatively having limited capital to support their investments. “Government has to develop industrial clusters with requisite infrastructure for this category of businesses. They should also have access to soft loans and research and development support,” he stated.
He also urged the government to boost non-oil exports by ratifying and implementing the road map recently developed by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council.
The lecture which was themed, “Diversifying the Nigerian economy: The role of government in manufacturing” provided insight into manufacturers’ expectations for 2017 and suggested policy direction.
The President of MAN, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said, “The truth is, our economy is currently challenged and MAN believes that with concerted efforts from all stakeholders, we shall overcome the current economic challenges.”
The event featured interactive sessions between experts, government officials and chief executives of manufacturing concerns nationwide as they reviewed the performance of the sector, appraised the state of the Nigerian economy in the past one year and brainstormed on the way forward.
The occasion was also used by MAN to present a vivid picture of the current realities of siting or operating a manufacturing concern in Nigeria, showcase novel innovations and made-in-Nigeria products as well as collectively agree on workable survival strategies.
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