By Naomi Uzor
THE Federal Government is poised to replicate the success story of SME clusters in 9,555 wards in the country.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Abdu Bulama, disclosed this in Lagos during the opening ceremony of the Nigerian Raw Materials Exposition, 2nd NIRAMExpo 2014, tagged, “Achieving Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan through Raw Materials Sourcing.
“The success story of the Otigba cluster; Ikeja Computer Village; Nnewi Automotive SME cluster, the Kano Leather Cluster; Aba Fashion and Garments cluster; Kano Leather Cluster, Aba, Abeokuta and Osogbo tie and dye industry have proved beyond doubts that the cluster concept is one of the potent strategies required for enhancing speedy development of the non-oil sector,” he said.
He disclosed that the philosophy behind the establishment of these projects is to promote raw materials processing clusters, an initiative of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council, RMRDC, and that the concept has received the approval of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the implementation in all the wards in the country.
“For this reason, it was named the Ward Based Cluster Project (WBCP). Consequently, it would be replicated in all 9,555 wards in the country, based on each ward’s comparative advantage in terms of natural resources endowment. It is our sincere believe and hope that through the NIRAM Expo, we can redirect the focus of the manufacturing sector towards increasing patronage of high quality secondary raw materials or intermediate inputs produced locally in preference to continued importation, and thereby conserve foreign exchange and free such funds for other development purpose,” he stated.
He noted that technology is an important factor in driving non-oil sector growth, both for enhancing increased production and value addition to natural resources, as well as in facilitating productivity in the service sector.
“Technology has become an indispensable catalyst in promoting innovation, competitiveness and export in the non-oil sector of the economy. The aim is to enhance the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which are considered the major engine of growth of any country and the pillar of the non-oil sector of the economy. The Chairman, Governing Board, RMRDC, Senator Walid Jibrin, said, the council has the mandate to promote the development of the raw materials resources for optimal utilisation for industrial growth.
He said the council overtime, and with current changes and direction of government has reviewed and refocused its programmes and projects in line with prevailing situations leading to the production of the strategic plan (2014-2017) in line with the aspiration of Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020 and the transformation agenda of government.