By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
The Federal Government has vowed to give adequate support and other incentives to local manufacturers in a bid to promote home-grown industries and provide jobs for millions of Nigerians.
Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Prof. Kassey Garba stated this during a tour of local industries in the South Eastern zone of the country.
As part of the federal government’s commitment to boost capacity utilisation of local industries and job creation, Garba remarked that the South-East industrial hub of the country has been earmarked to benefit from a series of incentives that will enhance industrialisation of the zone.
The incentives, according to him, include adequate power supply, access to rail network and trunk ‘A’ roads, others include the on-going dredging of the River Niger and a river port at Onitsha.
Speaking to industrialists and manufacturers under the auspices of the Chambers of Commerce & Industry in Enugu, Awka and Nnewi in Anambra State, Garba said that the commitment and determination of the President to industrialise and promote local industries is genuine, adding, that several measures have been put in place by the federal government that will facilitate the development of the sector.
She disclosed further that it is on this premise that the President mandated the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser to undertake a comprehensive assessment of local industries and their products/goods; including a review of the existing tariff structure that will both protect our local industries and attract new investment into the sector.
It will be recalled that the Federal Executive Council at a recent meeting mandated the Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of government, to patronize locally produced goods and services, including enjoining other levels of government to do same.
Against this backdrop, Garba said the directive of the President informed her current interactive visit to key industrial estates across the South_Eastern states _ particularly, Enugu, Awka and Nnewi _ to appraise the performance of the local industries as well as identify major constraints that impede the growth of the sector.
Speaking further on government’s policy to boost capacity utilisation of local industries and job creation, particularly in the area of financial support, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), according to the Presidential aide, had earlier earmarked the sum of N200 billion to be disbursed to manufacturers through the Bank of Industry (BOI). She noted that the agency has disbursed N130 billion and N70 billion in the first and second phase, respectively, to eligible manufacturers through their commercial banks.
In his welcome address, President of Nnewi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Prince Emeka Ayabazu, expressed appreciation for the visit, stressing that it is a clear indication of the President’s resolve to inject life into the almost comatose industries in the zone.
Ayabazu urged the federal government to partner with the organized private sector in the south0-eastern region to actualize government’s goals and targets of vision 20-20-20 for the country.
Furthermore, he seized the opportunity of the visit of the Chief Economic Adviser to the industrial estates to appeal to the federal government to address the challenges of access roads, access to long term loans with low single digit interest rates to manufacturers and the problem of power facing the sector.
Responding, Garba stated that the primary reason for her visit was to identify key challenges stifling their growth through a survey of manufacturers of locally produced goods, including recommending possible areas of policy intervention towards achieving government’s goal of promoting Made_in_ Nigeria goods, in line with the President’s directive to her office.
Some of the industries visited by her team include Innoson & Industrial Company ltd. in Emene, Enugu, Adis & Adromedas Industry, Enugu; Juhel Industries Nig. Ltd; Awka, Anambra, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Ltd; Nnewi; Cutix Wires & Cables Industries, Nnewi, Ibeto Petrochemical Industries, Nnewi, amongst others.