President says plan will see Nigeria becoming industrialised in a short time.
President Goodluck Jonathan has tasked the manufacturing sector to work harder to add value to the country’s produce rather than just exporting raw materials.
The President noted that no country has become prosperous only by extracting and exporting its raw materials.
“It is primarily by adding value to resources that a nation can best generate wealth for its people,” he said on Monday.
The President who was speaking at the inauguration of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, said he had launched the Plan earlier in the year, to ensure that the nation joins the league of industrialized countries within the shortest possible time.
“Under the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan, NIRP, which was launched this year, the country identified industries groups where Nigeria has comparative advantage and can lead in Africa and can attain the top 10 globally in the shortest possible time. This also includes wild fields of agro-allied and agro-processing, metals and solid minerals processing, oil and gas related industries, construction, large manufacturing and services.
“The NIRP will also address the numerous issues that have held back the Nigerian non-oil sector for years as well as address the high cost of funding and lack of long term finance in our country. Today, approximately 45 per cent of Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, all over the world goes to the manufacturing sector with only about eight per cent of FDI in the production of raw materials. Furthermore, over 70 per cent of the estimated $20 trillion global annual trade are in manufactured goods. As a result without a robust Industrial Plan focused manufacturing we cannot have a fair share of the world’s wealth. We must build a strong manufacturing base and the Advisory committee will help us to do that,” he said.
The President also noted that Nigeria, with half a trillion dollar economy, is by far the largest in Africa, with the 9th largest workforce in the world.
“I believe in this country, I believe in our entrepreneurial spirit. If China can do it I believe we can also do it” he said.
He further commended the organised private sector, which constitutes a larger percentage of the members of the Presidential Committee, for not only effectively participating in the recently concluded World Economic Forum for Africa, hosted by Nigeria, but also for their invaluable contributions to the resounding success of the forum.
“We’re pleased that at the end of the three days it was concluded that it was one of the best fora in the history of World Economic Forum, especially coming at a time that the country faced a lot of challenges. We believe that without those distractions probably it would be the best in terms of participation and the contents.
“We achieved that because of people like you and your colleagues all over the world who are not here. Last week, I held discussions with the Chinese Premier here in Abuja, and it is indeed impressive what that country has achieved industrialization in recent memory. For a purely agrarian economy in 1978 with high unemployment, little wealth, technology was minimal, and in fact the manufacturing capacity was quiet small, China has effectively through its industrial and manufacturing sector become the largest economy in the world,” he said.
The President expressed confidence that Nigeria can also do the same not necessarily by being the largest economy in the world “but our target is to be among the top 20”
“From the information I gathered, manufacturing and services in China has lifted over 500 million people out of poverty. With industrialisation, at least we can lift less than 200 million people out of poverty,” he said.
To accomplish this, the President however noted that Nigeria must do things differently.
“We must begin to add value to our resources through research development. We must industrialise and the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan is our agenda to achieve this. I have asked that the NIRP presidential advisory committee must serve as platform to get the inputs of our best industrialists in the country even as we execute the plan. This is important because the existing investors in Nigeria are best placed to articulate the expansion of our strategic industrial sectors. I have no doubt that you here are some of our best minds and the most daunting investors in Nigeria’s industrial sector, you represent the best in Nigeria’s industry,” he said.
He also noted that the committee members were carefully selected across strategic sectors to ensure the success of Nigeria’s industrial revolution plan in various sectors, including cement, basic steel, cocoa processing, petrochemicals, textiles, food and beverages amongst others.
“We have also ensured adequate national coverage North, South, East and West as well as the international and vital representations from all key stakeholders,” he said.
The advisory board, which will be chaired by the Minister in charge of the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, also has Aliko Dangote as the Alternate Chair.
“Your mandate is to ensure that we get to the height level of private sector inputs to our industrialisation agenda,” he told the committee.
The President said he will be meeting with this committee only as needed but the Minister and the Alternative Chair will brief him every six months.
“I am emboldened by the achievements we have already recorded in our commitment to drive industrialisation over the last three years. Examples are seen in our Sugar Master Plan, the Auto Industry Strategy and strengthening of the cement sector and others. The NIRP is a journey Nigeria must undertake. I’m confident that this plan will quicken the industrialisation of our great country and create many more jobs and wealth. This will invariably help in enhancing national security and social stability. Your acceptance to support this national goal is proof of your deep commitment to our country. Today, I place a challenge to you; be bold, think big and push the frontiers of our dream of an industrial society as articulated in our plan and we must industrialise this country,” he said.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...