• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

Industrial development in Nigeria: A panacea for hunger, economic hardship

Five ways Nigeria’s manufacturing sector can improve in 2022

The subject of industrial development in Nigeria seems to have been congealed into duplicity, a mere bombast and paper tiger.

The strong perception in different quarters is that the country’s industrial development is long overdue. Nigeria, which once offered the continent and blacks everywhere a future that was promissory, resplendent, and anchored on a vision of rapid development when it achieved its independence in 1960, is now lagging.

For instance, many countries that shared the same developmental threshold as Nigeria in 1960 now appear more economically formidable, vibrant, and technologically advanced than the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

I am pained that countries that do not have the kind of endowment that we have as a nation are dictating the pace in the global arena in terms of product development and technological innovations; meanwhile, our dear country is still battling to establish the basic elements needed for industrialization to roll off.

Rather than ululate over the lost years of waste, corruption, visionlessness, and lack of investments in Nigeria’s industrialization, gripe about the current challenges of hunger and economic hardship facing the nation, or throw some jeremiad tantrums about the ingrained culture of government insincerity towards the plights of the citizens and, most importantly, the vulnerable, the time has come for a multi-stakeholder approach to actualizing the idea of industrial development in Nigeria.

The government must show leadership resolve by stepping out of the shadows and committing itself to the fundamental objective of making industrial development happen, despite subsisting challenges.

Nigerians have no business with the persistent hunger and economic hardship witnessed everywhere in the country. The country is blessed with tremendous economic, human, natural, and mineral resources to make the difference we all envisage.

Human and economic resources must be judiciously and intentionally harnessed to realise this ideal of industrialization in Nigeria. It may interest you that emerging economies and markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS), and other industrialised societies have all shown that industrialization is a prerequisite for economic growth, long-term poverty reduction, and job creation.

Such a pattern of industrialization and transformation of traditional and agrarian society into a modern and industrial society, coupled with knowledge intensity and an agricultural revolution, will bring about quick emancipation of citizens from poverty and hunger and create a promising development path for a country like Nigeria.

Therefore, industrial development is undoubtedly an important mode of production in modern society. It provides livelihoods for millions worldwide because it creates massive employment opportunities for citizens.

Nigeria possesses the ingredients that it requires to become a leading industrial economy in the global market, and it is supported by its massive population of over 200 million people. Its domestic markets are swamped with a ready army of consumers for its industrial goods and services.

The bone of contention is, “Why has Nigeria not experienced this industrial development?” Why are so many Nigerians still subject to hunger and economic hardship?

Over the years, industrial development in Nigeria has been challenged by a lack of political will or courage to bring about industrial transformation in Nigeria.

The experiences of countries such as China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India, among others, show that these nations took actions based on conviction and courage inspired by their visionary political leadership.

While the past and present political leadership has continued to controvert the slew of accusations cast at it and its members for corruption, the fact remains that if we do not kill corruption in Nigeria, corruption will kill our potential to experience industrial development in Nigeria.

The several avatars of corruption in the public realm, such as outright bribery and inducement, nepotism, and use of one’s position for self-enrichment, among others, have remained a vicious rape of the commonwealth and the ability to fund development projects that could have supported industrialization and the agricultural revolution that would avert hunger and economic hardship faced by vulnerable Nigerians today.

More so, internal security has remained an enormous challenge to industrial development in the country. Without security, there cannot be a free flow of goods and services among different locations in the country.

The way forward, therefore, is for the government and all concerned Nigerians to overhaul the nation’s security apparatuses to ensure that the country’s internal and external security measures can anticipate and stem domestic and foreign security challenges.

After that, the government needs to tinker with the existing policies and regulations undergirding industrial activities in the country. For instance, it is commendable that the Corporate Affairs Commission is working hard to make registering businesses and filing returns a straightforward exercise.

The government must extend its eagle eye to policies still inimical to industrial and business development in the country. It is a fact that the SME sector is critical to the success and rapid growth of the industrial sector because it provides support services, intermediate goods, and raw materials needed for the production activities within the industrial sector.

Hence, adequate funding for the SME sector is inevitable in bringing about Nigeria’s vibrant, robust, and healthy industrial sector and climate. Youth should be encouraged to contribute to the economy through product and service creation.

Conclusively, political leadership must by itself lead by example. The government must patronise the country’s local rice farmers, buy the country’s fabrics and wear them on significant occasions, and mandate its ministers, commissioners, and all those in elective and appointed positions to do the same.

Imhonopi is a professor of Industrial Sociology and Human Capital Development at Covenant University, Ota, Lagos. He can be reached via [email protected]