By Miriam Humbe
The federal government through the Ministry of State Industry, Trade and Investment, has expressed concerns over the continued spending of over N4billion yearly on the importation of Diapers, Sanitary Pads, Wipes and Napkins into the country, saying it is unacceptable.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment Mr. Sunday Akpan voiced the fears on Tuesday at the validation meeting on the Draft National Industry Policy held in Abuja as part of efforts to encourage local production and arrest the nation’s capital flight.
Represented by the Director, Human Management in the Ministry, Mr. Alabi Samuel Akintunwa, the Permanent Secretary said, in spite of numerous challenges facing the sector, the Diaper, Sanitary Pads, wipers and Napkins industry has recorded steady growth over the years, even as the workforce has increased, more jobs both skilled and unskilled are being created in every aspect of the industry.
Mr. Akpan noted that about 20 companies which produce diapers and 17 in sanitary Pads, Napkins and Wipers are into the manufacturing of these products and many more investors both local and international are expected to join soon.
He assured that strategies and incentives to drive the industry have been identified for implementation in the policy adding that the development of the National Industrial sector is essential for increased productivity to meet local demand and export purposes, job creation and economic boost through government industrialization drive.
He said the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan [NIRP] which is the industrial component of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan [ERGP] identified the demand for nappies or diapers and pads in Nigeria as very low in per capital terms.
He said: ‘’This means, it is a developing category with strong growth prospects considering the high fertility and birth rate if Nigerian Women estimated by the United Nations International Children Emergency Funds (UNICEF) to be 5.9 million babies annually’’.
He assured that the Federal Government will work in collaboration with other stakeholders to up scale the dedicated loan facility to the sector in order to acquire modern machinery for higher productivity to fill in the gaps within three years Also, the Acting Director, Industrial Development Department in the Ministry, Dr. Francis Alanemeh confirmed that the validation is the final meeting to make amend before forwarding the draft to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.