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Published On: Thu, Nov 13th, 2014

For Aganga, Nigeria needs consistency for revolution plan

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr, Olusegun AgangaFrom Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga has said that consistency and implementation is what is needed for the successful execution of the nation’s Industrial Revolution Plan.

“We have to diversify our economy to achieve the successful execution of the nation’s Industrial Revolution Plan” Aganga said at the Media Workshop organized by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for Industry, Trade and Investment Correspondents and Editors.

He highlighted that Agriculture is a sector which is still operating below its potential, as the nation’s land could grow just about any type of crop ranging from tomatoes to cotton. “We have 44 solid

minerals that we can focus on” he added.

“It is achievable. All we need is consistency and implementation. We have already drafted plans in some areas and we have identified seven areas that can make this plan successful.

He identified availability and access to finance, competitive industrial skills, availability of power and infrastructure, quality standards, identification of some of the products that can be exported, and the execution of the One State One Product (OSOP) plan which highlights that each state must have a product it would export; stating that the automobile sector is also a sector that can perform higher than its current performance.

According to Aganga, the nation spends about N3 billion on the importation of cars and about another N3 billion on the importation of vehicle parts. “We must invest in the automobile industry” he said, debunking reports that the national automotive policy is controversial and was prepared in a hurry. Aganga said not less than $300m investments are being targeted by the federal government into the automotive industry in 2015.

He said that the number of investments that went into the automotive industry in 10 years was $62million but attracted about $150million in less than one year.

“In order to reverse the ugly trend by diversifying our economic and revenue base, President Jonathan in February 2013, launched the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) as a major game-changer.

“This was based on the principle that no nation has successfully moved from being a poor to rich nation without a robust industrial and services sector. In 2011, we did not have a comprehensive automotive policy on the ground.

“Today, in the automotive sector, over 22 companies have signed technical commitments to manufacturing or assembling cars in Nigeria. By early next year, some of them will be in the country.”

“The number of automotive test laboratories were nil in 2011, but today we have three. The number of universities offering automotive engineering were nil but today we have about four of them.

The anufacturing capacity utilization for the automotive sector has also gone up by 40 per cent”.

He also disclosed that the government had attracted new private sector investment worth $7billion into the cement sector within the last three years, adding that a new anti competition policy that would provide a level playing field for all investors in the country would soon be rolled out.

“In 2011, the installed capacity in the cement sector was 16.5 million metric tons per anum. Today it is 39.5 million metric tons. When we came in, there were about $9 billion investment in the cement sector but today it is more than $15billion.

“In 2011, the direct and indirect jobs from the cement sector was less than 600, today the sector provides about 2.2 million direct and indirect jobs. We spent at least $5.2 million in the importation of

cement but since 2013, the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has not issued any import license.

“Our main focus for the cement sector, going forward, are to improve the standard of cement and to bring the price down. Cement manufacturers must do it because we do not do price regulation.

“There was announcement a few days ago that one of the cement manufacturers is bringing down the price of its 32.5 by 40 per cent from N1,700 per bag to N1,000. The 42.5 is coming down from around N1,800 to about N1, 150 per bag”, he stressed.

“There have been complaints about what is happening in the sector. Nigerians should not worry because we know what we are doing. We have a competition policy, we have anti-trust law that we are looking at and we have competition Bill that is going to the National Assembly”. “We will make sure that industrialists and investors across the country continue to have the confidence that everyone will play on a level playing ground”, he added.

On doing business in Nigeria, he said though the World Bank ranked us higher; the nation was still not where it should be. “That is not where I want us to be. By next year, I want us to rank higher. We are delighted that we have made progress but we should be far higher” he said. He said the ease of starting business in Nigeria would be further improved as the ministry was working towards online

registration of businesses.

Aganga said President Jonathan had initiated and implemented far-reaching industrial policies which have helped to diversify the nation’s economic and revenue base; attract fresh foreign direct

investment, created employment and increased the capacity utilization of key manufacturing sectors of the economy.

“In the sugar industry, the number of jobs in 2011 before President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is about 180,000. Investment in sugar cane was $100m but today it N3.2billion”, he added.

According to him, Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises account for 46 per cent of the GDP and industry accounts for 25.9 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP.

He said: “This actually tells you how the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment contributes significantly to the Nigerian economy. In 2011 when we took over, there was no comprehensive and coordinated industrial policy for the country. There was no strategy to diversify our economy and revenue base.” The minister said that the contributions of the manufacturing sector to the GDP was very low, capacity utilization was also low, while massive jobs lose were prevalent.

Aganga added that there was no emphasis on value addition, noting: “For decades, our country specialized in exporting raw materials.

“We had weak industrial structures and depended on importation of most of our products.

“That was the situation in 2011 before President Jonathan’s administration came on board.

“In order to reverse the ugly trend, President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2013, launched the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan as a major game-changer. “This was based on the principle that no nation had successfully moved from being a poor to rich nation without a robust industrial and services sector.”

 

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