The Federal Government, yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term in office would give more support to the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to drive the economy while playing a regulatory role.
Feelers from the government quarters indicated that this might be done with focus on removing constraints and bottlenecks working against the growth of businesses and enterprise.
The Minister for Works, Housing and Power, Babatunde Raji Fashola, speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2019 edition of the Manufacturing Equipment Expo (NME) and Manufacturing Partnership for African Development (mPAD), tagged, “Optimising Value Chain to Maximise Growth and Competitiveness in the Manufacturing Sector”, said the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, in a bid to create an enabling environment for manufacturing and other businesses, has intensified activities in the provision of basic infrastructure such as roads, power generation, rail lines and water.
Fashola who was represented by Ibi Terna, Director, Highways Development, said improved transport infrastructure is expected to improve the time and cost of access to raw materials/finished goods and ensure wider market for the sale of manufactured products.
“However, being aware that public funds are not adequate to provide the desired level of infrastructure due to other competitive demands on public resources, policies have been put in place to encourage the private sector to partner the Federal Government in the provision of these critical infrastructure.
“The Federal Government’s focus on previously comatose road projects on major arterial routes like the Enugu-Port Harcourt Highway, Apapa-Oworonshoki Highway, Lagos-Ibadan Highway, Kano-Maiduguri Highway, Lokoja-Benin Highway and Kaduna Eastern Bypass, to mention few, is not accidental but targeted at increasing manufacturing capacity and national productivity. Such projects are now making steady progress towards early completion,” he said.
He explained that governnent would further intensify efforts in the diversification of the economy from monolithic product, which is oil, to the expansion of real sector, agriculture and adding value to raw materials being exported to other parts of the world.
The President of Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mansur Ahmed, however, noted that the association is already making contributions at the continental level and has been given a leading role in the establishment of African Manufacturers Association (AMA).
“This was a fallout of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) held recently in Cairo, Egypt. I was elected the chairman of the interim committee saddled with the responsibility of birthing this Pan-African body that would provide the platform for African manufacturers to collectively address the challenges confronting sustainable industrialisation of Africa and trade among ourselves.”
The Director General of MAN was also elected as co-secretary in conjunction with his Kenyan counterpart,” he stated. Chairman, Flour Mills Nigeria, John Coumantaro who delivered a keynote address said the topic was most suitable for several reasons, as it gives Nigerians an opportunity to look at the seemingly obstinate challenges that they must contend with in the manufacturing sector, including the widening infrastructure deficit, unfavorable policies, dwindling consumer spending, and its attendant effect on our bottom line.