By Victoria Ojeme
The Nigerian government post-COVID-19 economic recovery plans is taking a positive turn with increasing local manufacturing of goods, according to top government officials.
This was disclosed at a facility of the inspection of the Halibiz Industrial Complex at the Idu Industrial Area in Abuja by the Managing Director, NEXIM Bank , Abubakar Abba Bello; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms Yewande Sadiku, and the Director-General, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Segun Awolowo.
The officials said increasing local manufacturing is essential for Nigeria’s local firms to become Africa’s preferred manufacturing hub and a dominant force in the African Continental Free Trade Area regime.
The COVID-19 pandemic which brought about lockdowns and restrictions had a significant impact on the Nigerian manufacturing sector. Global supply chain shortfalls also affected the manufacturing sector negatively in Nigeria. The manufacturing sector grew less than 1% in Q1 2020. It grew by 0.43%, lower than the Q1 2019 growth rate of 0.81% and Q4 2019 growth rate of 1.24%.
The manufacturing sector recorded a continuous quarterly decline in its between Q2 and Q3 2020 declining to -8.78% and -1.51% respectively.
Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku at the facility tour said that part of the objectives of government policy was for, “Nigerians to create jobs for Nigerians” adding that, “every Nigerian who does something of value should aspire to venture out.”
She said the factory was particularly heartwarming given that it was built by Nigerians. She encouraged staff members to adhere to best quality standards as the company prepares for exports noting that every government policy objective is represented in what the company is doing.
Also speaking, the Director-General of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo said that there was a paucity of Nigerian delicacies and products on shelves of supermarkets abroad and in local stores and added that the initiative by the company will change the narrative.
He said amidst various difficulties, the government will always strive to support the likes of Halibiz by creating enabling environment to help the private sector excel.
He urged the company to take advantage of the federal government’s N50 billion export expansion facility programme, which according to him is a grant to help companies grow as well as help some survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
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President of the firm, Qs Adamu Aliyu, had earlier in his presentation said a Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) manufacturing firm like Halibiz Industries that is creating jobs and adding value to the FMCG eco –system would need Pioneer Status to expand.
According to him, the company has come up with innovative solutions for scaling up inclusive business in the fast moving consumer goods sector.
Aliyu said the company is also making use of technology to beat longstanding challenges and build on emerging opportunities in an evolving marketplace, adding that it has completely automated its manufacturing process.
He further stated that the company’s business approach is to retail quality goods at competitive prices.
He added that the Pioneer Status he is seeking, would provide a buffer to enable the timely recoupment of capital investments incurred by the company at the start-up stages,
As part of the company’s ambitious growth and expansion plans, Aliyu told the chief executives that he was eyeing the export market, specifically the AfCFTA with the company’s top quality product lines.
Also to accommodate the vision of the company, he disclosed that more structural expansion is presently ongoing in the company.
He also said there are ample opportunities if the country can produce what it consumes, as it would not only create jobs but also feed the world.