By Naomi Uzor
The Director General, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan, Professor Tunji Akande said on Monday in Lagos that one of the challenges facing vision 2020 is the absence of industrial core base for effective industrial linkage effects.
Delivering a speech tagged â€œVision 20: 2020 – The Industrialist Dilemmaâ€, on the occasion of the 2009 AGM/Symposium of the industrial groupÂ of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry(LCCI), Akande said that there are lots of challenges currently being faced by industrialists in Nigeria, among which is the absence of industrial core base for effective high industrial linkage effects as majority of processed raw materials used in the manufacturing process are imported.
He said that competition with sub-standard imports and illegally manufactured/uncertified local goods have led to lack of competitiveness of made in Nigeria goods, adding that the imported alternatives, despite their poor quality, are cheaper and typically considered more appealing despite their low quality and safety issues.
â€œGiven this, it is imperative for the government to prevent smuggling into the country of illegal imports by improving administration and management of ports, ensuring adequate number of regulatory agencies to manage the affairs of port operators, improving the quality of port handling equipment and reducing high ports charges from concessionaires. He said that small and medium scale manufacturers should be supported to provide customised goods and services, security agencies should also be strengthened to provide adequate patrol and surveillance activities across the countryâ€™s borders as the fragile sector cannot cope with dumping of foreign goodsâ€ he said.
According to him, the bureaucracy involved in doing business in Nigeria is a deterrent to the growth of the manufacturing sector.Â Issues of poor governance and cumbersome entry/contract procedures have increasingly encouraged corruption.
â€œAnalysis shows that burdensome entry regulations do not increase the quality of products, make work safer or reduce pollution, instead, they fuel corruption, constrain private investment, push more people into the informal economy, increase consumer prices and reduce efficiency in the management of public resourcesâ€ he stated.
Akande stressed that in order to address these challenges and set industrial sector on a sustainable growth path that ensures overall output growth for the nation, the articulated vision of technology driven industrial sector that is profitable, sustainable and meets the socio-economic aspirations of the nation must be put in place.
He urged the government to employ certain strategies that will reposition the economy for growth, which include striving to achieve a double digit growth rates and maintaining strong economic fundamentals that will lead to macroeconomic stability and the importance of rapid industrial structural changes leading to the achievement of significant progress in production and consumption as well as diversification which is robust and consistent with the goal of vision 20:2020