Pat Utomi, founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), has called for policies that will rebuild the manufacturing industry to boost the country’s presence in the global market.
Utomi said this at a leadership excellence award ceremony, “Centre for Values in Leadership – Leader Without Title (CVL-LWT) Award”, organised by the centre on Wednesday in Lagos, where some individuals were given awards.
Utomi said that manufacturing had been a victim of policy and social priorities, particularly when oil came.
“We have, however, come to a season of trying to rebuild manufacturing in Nigeria to dominate global value chains.
“The LWT was set up to help us identify values that can help us strengthen our society in all areas of endeavours and I salute both our honourees for becoming part of an extraordinary tradition,” he said
The CVL-LWT is the 60th edition tribute colloquium with the theme: “Moving from consumption to production: The challenges”.
According to him, the LWT colloquium focused on the live wires of economic growth and transformation, entrepreneurship and manufacturing.
Utomi said the awardees were worthy of honour for their effort, to keep manufacturing alive in Nigeria, especially where public policy and factors in the environment limited factories as the anchor of prosperity since the industrial revolution.
Bakare-Okeowo, an awardee, said there was a need for Nigerians to allow indigenous manufacturers to become the bride of the world by embracing made-in-Nigeria products.
According to her, it has become necessary to allow Nigerian manufacturers to make mistakes in their growth process, learn from the mistake, restrategise and expand for global competitiveness just like China.
She stated the need for government to provide immediate interventions and sustainable policies necessary to support manufacturing and advance the country’s industrialisation agenda.
“We know there is a lot of issues that affect manufacturing but we must address them to revive comatose industries and discipline those that are not compliant with the buy made in Nigeria goods executive orders.
“There is a need for a functional paper mill in the country to preserve the three billion dollars used to import papers for production, seeing that Egypt with its population has about 40 paper mill clusters.
“On this award, I am happy that people are taking note of the good works we are doing. I must let you know that honesty, truthfulness and a success mindset contributed to my achieving success in life,” she said.
Muda Yusuf, founder of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), said that the challenges of manufacturing had transcended over three decades.
Yusuf suggested that government should boost manufacturing by localising consumption, lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty and ensuring policies that drive industrialisation.
He called for the strengthening of development finance initiatives to drive productive manufacturing in a sustainable manner.
“We must also strengthen manufacturers’ capacity to source their raw materials locally and promote backward integration.
“There is a need for more investments in core industries such as iron and steel, aluminium, agro-allied, paper and pulp and petrochemicals to support smaller industries and shore up production.
“It is also important to get macroeconomic fundamentals such as inflation, exchange and interest rates right to engender economic growth and development,” he said.
Ade Ogidan, the executive chairman, Nadigo Communications Ltd., said that to address the country’s de-industrialisation problem, huge investments in human capital development was critical.
Ogidan said that five areas that must be addressed include man power trainings, man power development, human utilisation, adequate reward system and infrastructural support.
“An import dependent nation like Nigeria should not be devaluing its currency and de-industrialisation trend would continue if there is no paradigm shift to address these challenges.
“We cannot develop unless the Naira is ramped up to the real value via production and industrialisation,” he said.
Peter Bamkole, chief operating officer, Pan-Atlantic University, stated that the event’s theme was apt, saying “any country that does not take production very seriously was bound to fail”.
He said that manufacturing would be the real footstool of how Nigeria could grow and called for the right policies to motivate and culture Nigerians to love what is produced locally.
“To the awardees, I know that the scars of manufacturing would be visible on your back as you have traversed every hill and valley on manufacturing due to the love for Nigeria.
“It is important to note that moving from consumption to production is not theory and it is critical to eat what you produce because doing otherwise spells doom for the country,” he said.