Agency to drive industrial development needed –Aganga

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has said it is important for industrial development to be driven by a specific agency.

He said this in Ibafo, Ogun State on Friday when he visited Bio-organics Nutrient Systems Limited, an indigenous company, which supplies vitamin and mineral premixes to the Nigerian food, beverage, animal health and livestock industries.

He said, “One reason why we have suffered for decades is that we do not have even one agency that is responsible for industrial development and yet, we want to be industrialised.

“How do you become industrialised when you do not have an agency for that? You have (an agency) for investment, you have for export promotion, but none for industrial development, yet, you want to diversify the economy. It is completely wrong.”

Taking this fact and other development challenges into consideration, the minister said the government had developed the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, which was different from what he said was done in the past “in so many ways.”

According to him, the plan ensures that rather than just try to develop sectors of the economy randomly, a strategic and holistic approach has been adopted.

“It is different because it is very strategic. We are looking at industries where Nigeria can be the number one in Africa and top 10 globally. It is also holistic in the sense that we are taking a cluster approach to it,” he said.

For instance, Aganga explained that in order to have a successful automobile industry, there was the need for all the support sectors to be working as well.

The minister, who stressed that the new approach was integrated, added that there was also the need for a policy to promote local content and that after a particular number of years, local content should be at a particular level.

Another thing that is important, according to him, is the promotion of market access and the development of the right industrial skills to support production.

Aganga added that the government was keen to promote the development of industrial cities based on an agenda driven by institutions.

“So, the idea is to build institutions to drive hubs and that is what we are doing. That is the plan that we now have and we have started to implement that already.”

The Managing Director, Bio-organics Nutrient Systems Limited, Dr. Uzoma Acholonu, while    commending the minister for his efforts in encouraging the patronage of local products, called for stronger policy intervention to compel patronage of the local industry

He also stressed that there was the need to align the research works done by higher institutions with industrial needs, among other things.

Acholonu, who said over $1.5m had been invested in the company, lamented that due to low commitment from large companies and the high cost of finance, its capacity utilisation was presently between 15 and 25 per cent.

He assured the minister that once the challenges were addressed, the company was in a position to become a major exporter not only to West Africa, but to East Africa and other parts of the continent.

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