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Dangote seeks manufacturing specific policies to drive 10-year industrialisation agenda

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Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group, has called for specific manufacturing policies to support and address the sector’s perennial challenges to drive industrialisation and economic growth over the next decade.

He gave the advice at the 2nd Adeola Odutola’s lecture to commemorate the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) 50th Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Revealed that the event, which held on Tuesday in Lagos, had as its theme: “Agenda Setting for Industrialising Nigeria in the next decade.”

Dangote also stressed the need for a shift in policy approach and strategy to reposition the manufacturing sector for growth over the next ten years.

According to him, it is imperative that the familiar challenges limiting the pace of industrialisation are frontally addressed while setting a clear-cut agenda for the next 10 years.

He, however, stressed that it was important to note that the current government policies, if fully implemented, were good enough to address most of the challenges beguiling the manufacturing sector.

Dangote noted that experience in various parts of the world showed that industrialisation drove economic growth and improved living standards as shown by the high output and per capita income in industrialised countries.

He stated that countries smaller than Nigeria such as Singapore and South Korea, had average per capita GDP of 65,233 dollars and 31,846 dollars respectively due to the level of industrialisation they had achieved.

The industrialist said in Nigeria, the policy dispositions and implementation strategies of successive Nigerian governments on industrialisation sought to create more employment opportunities, scale up the production of consumer goods and generate wealth.

He stated that though, these dispositions and strategies formed the kernel of public sector policies and planning, the country’s rate of industrialisation was slow.

This, he said, reflected in the low contribution of manufacturing to GDP, poor capacity utilisation and constrained export of manufactured products within and outside the continent.

“From the foregoing, it is evident that manufacturing is pivotal to industrialisation as no country in the world has ever industrialised or attained ‘developed nation status’ without having a thriving manufacturing sector.

“Consequently, any journey towards industrialisation must place strong emphasis on creating an enabling environment for manufacturing.

“You will agree with me that Nigeria has the potential and wherewithal for industrialisation given its vibrant and entrepreneurial population as well as its vast array of natural resources,” he said.

Dangote noted that in recent years, the country’s manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP hovered around 9 per cent; which he described as low.

He added that the development indicated that previous efforts atindustrialising Nigeria through manufacturing had not yet yielded the desired result.

He noted that the sub-optimal performance of the sector was due to the existence of binding constraints such as acute shortage of foreign exchange, dearth of long term funds, limited infrastructure, policy inconsistency and others.

He stressed that several factors such as security and rule of law, industry oriented government policy, adequate infrastructure, a well developed Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector needed to be in place to accelerate the growth of the sector.

He added that building human capacity, development of core industries, industry oriented research and development, and embracing technology would drive the country’s industrialisation agenda.

“Nigeria needs to henceforth intensify efforts at promoting industrialisation with specific focus on the attainment of the following targets in the next 10 years.

“15 per cent manufacturing sector growth, 20 per cent manufacturing contribution to GDP, 15 per cent growth in export of manufactured products, 10 per cent increase in the share of manufacturing to total export merchandise.

“The country also needs stronger inter-industry linkage between SMEs and large corporations, improved manufacturing contribution to government tax revenue and 20 per cent increase in manufacturing employment,” he said.

Dangote tasked all tiers of government to consult relevant stakeholders when taking far reaching decisions on key sectors of the economy.

This, he said, would make it much easier for manufacturers to make long-term business plans.

“In addition, policies that have been ‘tried-and-tested’ should be backed with an Act of parliament to give them legal backing and make them less susceptible to arbitrary changes by successive governments.

“With the collective effort of all stakeholders, it is feasible to move Nigeria from ‘developing nation’ to ‘newly industrialised nation’ status within the next 10 years,” he said. (NAN)

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