The minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah said the time is ripe for the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) as government moves to begin its economic diversification initiative.
The minister who spoke in Lagos said the present administration is shifting from rhetoric to real action plan to boost the country’s industrialisation master plan.
According to him, Regarding Industrialisation, there is no doubt that Nigeria is long overdue to make the shift from being primarily an exporter of commodities and raw materials, to being an industrial economy.
Manufacturing currently contributes only a tenth to our Gross Domestic Product, much lower than it does in other emerging market economies.
Our Industrialisation ambition is hinged on the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), launched by the previous government in 2014. It is now time to move that comprehensive document from Plan to Action. It is now our duty to implement that Plan in light of current realities, taking into consideration the lessons learn’t in the two years since it was unveiled.
He further added that the ministry will focus on identifying and supporting a select number of industrial sectors in which Nigeria has comparative advantage.
“We have seen success in our backward integration policies in the cement industry; and sugar is currently trying to replicate that success.
In the Automotive, and Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) industries, we are continuing discussions with players and stakeholders to see how we can better implement an industrial policy that creates jobs, profits and prosperity.
To ensure stability in the system, the minister promised to establish and maintain an enabling environment for Industry, Trade and Investment in Nigeria.
He said, “We are working to position MITI as an Enabler and Facilitator of business and investment in Nigeria. We would like Nigerians and the world to regard MITI as the ‘Ministry of Enabling Environment’.
When we say ‘Enabling Environment’, we mean one in which it is progressively easier to do business, policies are predictable and consistent, the government acts as a partner to business and investment, not a competitor or adverse regulator, and in which there is macro-economic stability”.
Enelamah announced that in coming weeks and months, government will be unveiling a number of important initiatives aimed at addressing Nigeria’s consistently poor performance on various Global Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business Indices.
He explained that the concrete initiatives will focus on dismantling the many obstacles that stand in the way of business and business innovation in Nigeria.
“In our estimation, the singular most important enabler of business in Nigeria – i.e. investment, entrepreneurship, and industrialisation in Nigeria – is infrastructure.
I’m delighted to mention that work is already going on within the government to create a dedicated Fund to tackle the Infrastructure deficit.
This is apart from the fact that the 2016 budget proposes to spend on infrastructure projects, three times as much as the 2015 budget, despite the tough economic times we are in.
I must add at this point that infrastructure refers, not only to ‘hard’ infrastructure like transport networks and reliable power supply, but also ‘soft’ infrastructure like transparent regulation, policy consistency, the rule of law, and a culture of efficient collaboration and synergy among various government agencies and offices” the minister said.