The Bank of Industry (BOI) has reaffirmed obligation to Nigeria’s local content development and manufacturing, as the nation cannot improve on its economic development if it continue to rely on importing of wholly made products.
Managing Director, BOI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, therefore called for the effective implementation of the industrial policy to support local manufacturing, as it is a sure way to create employment opportunities for the nation’s teeming unemployed youths and also achieve economic growth.
Olaoluwa, during a courtesy visit to Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited (MEMMCOL), stressed that the country has what it takes to meet the needs of the citizenry, and stated that BOI is committed to support local companies that have the capacities to produce world class products to help Nigerian businesses.
“We just visited a factory that manufactures prepaid electricity meters and I must say that we are very impressed by the level of technology that is displayed here. The key issue is that we have a company that is owned by Nigerians and has the capacity to supply almost all of the need for electricity meters that we need in this country. I have undertaken on behalf of BOI to help Nigerian companies that have the capacity to produce what Nigerian businesses require to survive. We do not need to import things we can produce locally.
This is why our foreign reserve has been under pressure because we keep importing what we can produce locally. A major strategic step to be taken to ensure that a policy is implemented to identify any company that has the capacity to produce locally are supported and patronized,” he said.
In his words, “This company produces all kinds of meters and they have even developed a very robust billing system that you can check your balance, recharge remotely and so on. These are things we should be proud of as Nigerians. I am very proud of this company and I believe they deserve all the support they can get from us as a developmental institution.”
According to the BOI boss, the financial development institution is putting up a portal to showcase every BOI customers and credible businesses to avail Nigerians the opportunity to access these companies to get loyal patronage.
“We have supported Momans in both long-term loans and working capital and so far so good, the company is meeting its obligations. We cannot develop our industrial base if we are so bent on patronizing imported goods, as a result of this, I am working on a presentation to make to the federal government to identify key customers of ours and other companies we have identified in the economy who have capacities to produce locally. Momans where we are today also has a very modern prepaid meter manufacturing output and we need to find a way to support companies like this in the country,” the BOI boss added.
He said: “For me, this is the most practical way of creating jobs in this country. This company has the capacity to hire about 500 staff and you can imagine, if this company is really patronized, they can increase their staff strength by 5 folds complementing the federal government’s effort to create employment opportunities for its teeming unemployed youths. There has been a lot of discussion around job creation and this company is in the heart of job creation. We have been exporting jobs to other countries because we are importing goods. We need to support local manufacturing.”
He said the bank is also in partnership with the United Nation industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), as part of our renewable programmes to try out off-grid rural energy projects in about six communities all over the country in order to show that off-grid rural energy electrification is viable .
” BOI has had discussions with the federal ministry of power and they understand that such projects below 5 megawatt require some kind of licensing from the rural electrification agency. The ministry of power is helping us to secure this process. We want to demonstrate to other financial institutions that off-grid solar energy is viable and commercial. We are trying to take a lead as a development bank in Nigeria to show that is possible and for other banks to follow suit,” he said.
In his response, the Chairman, Memmcol, Kola Balogun, stated that the visit is a clear demonstration of the BOI to support local manufacturing in the country, and stressed that the company will not relent in its effort to contribute to the development of the power sector in Nigeria.
He said Nigeria has the potential to become the technology hub in sub-Sahara Africa and beyond, saying that the nation needs to take its rightful place in the comity of technologically advanced nations of the world,
“What is needed is a good policy framework to support local expertise as well as commitment by all tiers of government.”