By Chris Onuoha
The Association of Agricultural and Industrial Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (A.I.E.N) is working on ideas to fast-track industrial development of Nigeria.
Speaking to Vanguard, president of the association, Chief Chuku Wachuku
disclosed that the association has struck a very valuable partnership with the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) for delivery of this objective.
He stated: “We need not reinvent the wheel to get developed. What’s needed is to think outside the box and navigate round the challenges that have held up industrial development in Nigeria. And we have found the right partner in the RMRDC with which we have signed an MOU, and we are now at the point of implementation.
“The main challenge of industrial development in Nigeria is the lack of infrastructure. Across the length and breadth of Nigeria, if you are setting up an industry, you have to provide yourself with power as public power remains very unreliable, you have to provide water as public water is non-existent, and you have to even build the road from which you bring in your raw materials and take out your finished products.
“For far too long we have bemoaned this situation, but that hasn’t brought any remedy. We therefore decided to work around the challenges rather than waiting forever for the government. It struck us that since most of Nigeria’s entrepreneurs are small and medium scale operators who could hardly afford the costs involved in the provision of these infrastructural facilities, they can come together and share such facilities in industrial clusters. This is a concept we want to put to work right across Nigeria.”
Wachuku said that the AIEN found a soul mate in the RMRDC which had developed an industrial blueprint for all the 774 local government areas of Nigeria based on their raw material endowments. “Every local government in Nigeria has some agricultural, mineral or natural endowment which gives it comparative advantage over others. The RMRDC projects that if these advantages are given even just a single step of value-addition through processing rather than being sold in the raw, Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) will see a jump.