Manufacturing sector, bedrock for inclusive economic growth and development says Dangote 

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Aliko Dangote in his paper presented at the second Adeola Odutola Lecture in Commemoration of the 50Th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) stated that manufacturing is pivotal to industrialization. No country in world has ever industrialized or attained “developed nation status” without having a thriving manufacturing sector. Without a doubt, manufacturing is the heartbeat of industrialization and the bedrock for inclusive economic growth and development, he added.

 

 

 

Consequently, he pointed out that any journey towards industrialization must place strong emphasis on creating an enabling environment for manufacturing.

The 50Th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of The Manufacturers Association Of Nigeria (MAN) was held At Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, recently.

 

 

The president of the Dangote group noted that in the past, industrialization was largely appraised by growth of capital investment, technological advancement and increases in industrial output. However, he added that contemporary discourse on industrialization has since expanded to include digitization of production processes, efficient utilization of raw materials, energy conservation, resource sustainability and the environment.

 

Today, different parts of the world are at different stages of industrialization and have done so using different approaches, Dangote noted.

“While others have pursued export-led growth, by deliberately focusing on foreign trade and maintaining a weak currency to make their exports attractive.

 

“Developments in various parts of the world have shown that industrialization drives economic growth & development which improves living standards as evident by the high output and per capita income in industrialized countries.

 

Remarkably, he said China, India and Turkey have in the recent past joined the league of industrialized countries recording tremendous improvement in economic growth and standards of living driven by sustained manufacturing

 

In Nigeria, he cited, the policy dispositions and implementation strategies of successive Nigerian governments on industrialization seek to create more employment opportunities, scale up the production of consumer goods for its teeming population and generate wealth for the nation.

 

Although, he further, these dispositions and strategies formed the kernel of public sector policies and planning, the rate of industrialization in Nigeria has been slow as evidenced by the low contribution of manufacturing to GDP, poor capacity utilization and constrained export of manufactured products within and outside the continent.

 

For instance, Nigeria’s share of world output of 0.41%, ranked 29th in the world which is unimpressive, considering its size and resource endowments.

 

“Nigeria has for many years remained in the “developing nation” cadre as income, economic development and standard of living largely remain below average” (World Data.info, UN 2022). In addition, Nigeria remains one of the least industrialized countries with a low Human Development Index (0.539) and a Per Capita Income of US$2097 ranking 129 and 105 out of 152 respectively (World Data.info, IMF 2022). Nigeria also ranks poorly in terms of average life expectancy which stands at 55 years compared to high-income industrialized nations like Japan (84 years); Singapore (84 years); Germany (80 years) and USA (79 years).

 

“From the foregoing it is evident that manufacturing is pivotal to industrialization. No country in world has ever industrialized or attained “developed nation status” without having a thriving manufacturing sector. Without a doubt, manufacturing is the heartbeat of industrialization and the bedrock for inclusive economic growth and development.

 

Consequently, Dangote reiterated that any journey towards industrialization must place strong emphasis on creating an enabling environment for manufacturing. You will agree with me that Nigeria has the potential and wherewithal for industrialization given its vibrant and entrepreneurial population as well as its vast array of natural resources, he said. Adding that these resources which remain largely untapped range from, hydrocarbons in the South, coal in the East, iron ore in the Middle-Belt, limestone and gypsum in the West, gold in the North, to mention but a few. There is clearly an abundance of raw materials waiting to be harnessed to support rapid industrialization in Nigeria, he stressed.

 

In his words: When industrialization is driven by broad based manufacturing of products for domestic consumption and export the internal and external positions of the country will in the medium to long term become favourable. Economic growth will trend upwards; tax revenues should increase; balance of payments will be positive; external reserves will grow and the value of the Naira will be stable. In addition, he said lending rate for investment should decline as the economy becomes more liquid; standard of living will improve; and Nigeria will be in a position to provide its citizens with some of the social safety nets that exist in advanced economies.

 

THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR PERFORMANCE IN THE MIRROR OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS

 

The industrial sector in Nigeria, according to him, which is largely made up of manufacturing, mining and utilities has always found clear expression in all the National Development Plans with set objectives, targets and relevant supporting infrastructure. A review of all the National Development Plans from 1986 to date revealed similar industrial aspirations. The performance of development plans, policies and strategies, when x-rayed in the mirror of key macroeconomic variables revealed that there is plenty of room for improvement, he added.

 

“Set targets have largely not been attained as a result of various factors some of which include-: the neglect of agriculture & manufacturing due to the oil boom; foreign technology dependent industrialization without a robust local technology development strategy; policy inconsistency & poor policy implementation; dearth of local technical skills; low indigenous participation in manufacturing; dependence on external loans to finance projects; ill-conceived projects – to mention but a few.

 

Although, industrial development can hasten the pace of economic growth and ensuring rapid transformation of an economy, Nigeria has not attained its industrial development aspirations despite the myriads of policies and development plans, he said.

 


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