The minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige has called for a reversal of the trend of exporting raw materials to advanced countries.
Ngige made the call on Thursday, at the 5th Meeting of the National Employment Council, in Abuja where he said the country must encourage creative value chain entrepreneurship to boost job creation in the country.
The minister who was represented by the permanent secretary of the Ministry, Yerima Peter Tarfa, noted that a lot of jobs could be generated across the value chain, from the raw material stage through the finished product to the consumer.
Ngige said, “The raw minerals being exported from the country are used to produce consumer and industrial goods in advanced countries that we import at much higher prices.
“By not adding value to our mineral and agricultural products, Nigeria has been unwittingly exporting wealth and millions of jobs. We must halt and begin to reverse this dangerous trend.”
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He stated that based on the Council’s Work Plan, the meeting would deliberate on the topic, “Sectorial Value Chains and Employment Generation in Nigeria”.
The minister listed Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) of government which would make presentations at the meeting for Council’s consideration, including Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), and Nigeria Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER).
“Today’s meeting shall deliberate on what these MDAs are doing in evolving strategies and innovative ideas for upgrading various segments of the value chain to increase production and create value addition across the most profitable areas of the value chain with trickle-down effect to other sectors of the Nigerian economy,” Ngige said.
Stressing that agriculture and mining were critical sectors in the diversification of economic policy of the Government, the minister called for a move from exportation of raw materials to that of consumer goods at much higher prices.
He added; “while we focus on agricultural production, greater attention must also be devoted to enhancing value addition across the value chain.
“This meeting is expected to come up with innovative ideas that will facilitate mining and processing of all commercially viable solid minerals, so as to create wealth and jobs for the teeming unemployed.”
Speaking earlier, permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Yerima Peter Tarfa, stated that value chain entrepreneurs drive the economy by creating continuous streams of wealth and jobs through investments in several sectors of the economy.
Represented by the director, Employment and Wages in the Ministry, John Audu Nyamali, he stated that the Meeting would focus on “how to deepen value addition through the various value chains cutting across agricultural, solid mineral and tourism sectors, so as to reposition them as the engine of growth and labor-absorbing sponge.”