Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) says economic prosperity of Africa’s largest oil producer depends on the performance of the manufacturing sector.
“Due to the chronic challenges of infrastructure and inputs, the Nigerian manufacturing sector is yet to transit from a demand-driven regime to a supply-driven regime that is essential for long-run growth,” Dapo Adelegan, president, NBCC, who was represented by Akin Olawore, deputy president of the chamber, said, at the chamber’s breakfast meeting weekend in Lagos.
Adelegan said the manufacturing sector was the backbone of most economies, serving as an enabler for growth and development.
He said notwithstanding the current state of the economy, Nigerian Manufacturers were upbeat, having a positive outlook on the economy over the next year, with 76 percent expecting economic conditions to improve.
Nigeria’s manufacturing sector contributes 9.2 percent to the gross domestic product. Capacity utilisation in the industry is currently 49.6 percent, while percentage of inputs sourced locally is 51.88 percent. Output in the second half of 2015 was N465 billion, according to data by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
He observed that now was time to encourage and support made-in-Nigeria goods, stating that with the present administration’s initiative to diversify the economy, the contribution of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria to economic growth should not be too stressed.
He further said that putting the country back on the path of recovery and growth would require urgently rebuilding deteriorated infrastructure and making more goods and services available to the citizenry at affordable prices. According to him, this would imply a quantum leap in output of goods and services. He stressed that manufacturing sector was one of the most important sectors that would development, providing quality employment and wages, while reducing poverty.
He said the issue of poverty could easily be traced to mono-economic practice and underutilisation of the nation’s endowed resources, especially in manufacturing sector, which could have opened up windows of opportunity in job creation and economic development.
He said in the modern world, manufacturing sector would be regarded as a basis for determining a nation’s economic efficiency, but he regretted that after the discovery of crude oil in the late 1950s, the nation had shifted from its pre-eminent developing industrial production base and placed heavy weight on crude oil production.
“Not only has this jeopardised its economic activities, it also aggravated the nation’s level of unemployment,” he said, at the event themed, ‘Manufacturing Sector As a Catalyst for Economic Growth in Nigeria’.
“Nigeria as a giant of Africa has, for long, been regarded as a nation blessed with abundant human and material resources. However, the underutilisation of these potentials has amplified widespread poverty, low standard of living at individual level and rising unemployment in the country as a result of incessant mono-economic practice and drastic neglect of other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, tourism, mining and the manufacturing industry,” he added.