By Musa Adamu
The House of Representatives yesterday passed a motion calling on federal government to conduct a survey on moribund industries.
The motion seeks to create a data bank towards salvaging and resuscitating the industries in the country.
Sponsored by Hon. Abubakar Husaini Moriki, the motion recalled that from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, the Nigerian economy was booming as a result of government industrialization policies such as the indigenization exercise and import substitution policy.
It said the policies encouraged the establishment of public and private industries and that as a result a lot of Nigerians were gainfully employed and their standard of living was relatively high.
It further drew the attention of the House to the periods in the early 1990s, when a downward trend began to manifest as a result of a combination of several factors including economic down turn, resulting in the closing down of many industries and companies with its attendant economic consequences such as growing unemployment.
The motion further noted that the closure of the industries that had been employing hundreds of Nigerians resulted in increased unemployment, especially graduates and the youth.
It said this development led to the accentuation of criminality, youth restiveness, reduction in the standard of living in the country and mounting pressure on the scarce foreign exchange due to a resort to importation of goods that were hitherto being produced locally;
It further: “Observes that efforts made by successive Administrations to address the situation through various policy initiatives like privatization of government owned companies, grant of waivers and tax incentives to both local and foreign investors have not yielded the desired results;
“Realizes that lack of industrialization of the Nigerian economy made the recent economic recession experienced by the country more acute and therefore brought to the fore the dire need for diversification of the economy by reviving the moribund industries and focusing attention to the non – oil sector which remains one of the surest ways to reposition the country on the path of sustainable growth and development.”
Leading the debate, Hon. Moriki said the motion if adopted had the capacity to returning the country from the path of consuming nation to that of producing nation.
He regretted that as a nation the country lacked a comprehensive national planning, adding that it was impossible to national wealth when cities were littered with moribund industries.
Also commenting, Hon. Adeogun Albert, regretted that while in other climes manufacturing sector was the driver of the economy but that the reverse was the case in Nigeria.
He said no manufacturer could survive double digit regime of rate rate obtainable in Nigeria.
He blamed collapsed of infrastructure expected to support industrial growth and indiscriminate waiver to importers for the complete shut down of the industries.
He called on the government to prioritise investment on infrastructure to accelerate industrial revival.
Passing the motion, the House also mandated its Committees on Industry and Legislative Compliance to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to ensure compliance and report back in six weeks for further legislative action.