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President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engineer Mansur Ahmed, has made a startling revelation that since the narrow exit from recession, “most states were experiencing high de-industrialisation with almost half of its thriving manufacturing establishments becoming obsolete.”
Giving an insight on the challenges of the nation’s production sector at a forum in Kano on the theme: ‘Leveraging on Nigeria-China economic relations to re-industrialise the economy’, he expressed fears on the spate of closure of manufacturing concerns due to harsh business environment.
Some of the challenging issues affecting manufacturing according to him include multiple taxation, unhealthy competition from imported goods, dearth of infrastructure and insecurity in some regions.
Reviewing the growing Chinese influence on countries like Nigeria, Ahmed noted that MAN as an advocacy group will explore opportunities in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in which Nigeria joined in 2018, to explore investment opportunities in industrial and SMEs development, trade facilitation and human capital development.
He revealed that “It is our desire to explore during this dialogue how the growing Nigeria-China economic relations and the BRI can be leveraged to attract more investment in our manufacturing sector and reverse the direction of de-industrialization on our country”.
Corroborating his views, the former President of MAN, Bashir Borodo, decried that challenge of sourcing raw material at a price that will encourage productivity, saying “Local content in raw material supply quality had remained uncompetitive and further discourages capacity expansion drives.
According to him, “In the domestic market, we struggle against unfair competition from goods imported or smuggled into the country from low cost and relatively advanced economies. Outside the country, our exports are not competitive because of the inadequacies of the macroeconomic environment, including infrastructure and export facilitation policies”, he said.
Continuing, he argued that “World over, the manufacturing sector has proven to be a key driver of rapid economic growth through value addition and conversion of raw materials to finished goods for consumption and export with linkages to employment creation both direct and indirect. earlier in his keynote address, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and current Emir of Kano, HRM, Sanusi Muhammadu Sanusi II, averred that time has come for the Federal Government to declare state of emergency on poverty situation across the country.
He recalled that “Historically, Kano State has been a major hub for industrial and commercial activities and was known as such for many years. Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons the manufacturing capacity has significantly declined over the years.
“This in the light of continued rise in population has also contributed to the increase of poverty in the state. It is therefore imperative that collaborative efforts from the government and private sector are harnessed to restore the manufacturing industry in Kano”, he added.
Sanusi queried “In an environment of rising barriers to trade and US isolationism, where does Africa fit in? As a rule of thumb, the “winners” in a trade war are trade and current account deficit countries – in other words most of Africa.
“But more importantly, this may be the opportunity for Africa to rethink “hyper-globalisation”.
“Part of the problem in Africa has been insufficient focus on the development of a manufacturing base. For all the talk of diversification, a formalised service economy is closely allied to manufacturing – and can only come after it.
In his key submission, the Emir argued that “Africa needs structural change more than just “growth”. And for this much greater levels of investment are required”.
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