By Crusoe Osagie

The Bank of Industry (BoI) has emphasised  the need for Nigeria to adopt a commodity based industrialisation strategy to achieve inclusive growth.

The development finance institution (DFI) noted that Nigeria must add value to its natural resource endowments, stating that according to the Raw Materials Research Development Council (RMRDC), the 774 local government areas in the country all have natural resource endowments begging to be utilised.

The Acting Managing Director, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, during BOI media parley tagged: ‘Sustaining Nigeria’s Industrial Sector Growth through Impactful Partnerships’, said the major difference between the rich and poor nations of the world is their level of industrialisation, saying that industrialisation is a multidisciplinary process where everybody has a role to play to achieve industrialisation.

He however, commended the present administration’s effort for adopting the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the Nigerian National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) established by the previous administration, maintaining that this move would go a long way to boost a commodity based industrialisation strategy for Nigeria.

“Nigeria must add value to its natural resource endowments. I want to say here that the huge unemployment rate in Nigeria is artificial. If we start adding value to our natural resources, we will not have enough manpower to operate in the Nigerian economy. The 774 local government areas have a natural resource endowments lying fallow. If we start adding value to them, we would stimulate primary production, processing, meet our local needs and even export. We will not be depending on oil prices which we have no control,” he said.

He said: “We need to propagate commodity based industrialisation. We need to advocate it a lot. The present administration has also adopted the NIRP and NEDEP to boost commodity based industrialisation strategy by adding value to our natural resource endowments across the country. Unless Nigeria gets it right, Africa cannot make it. Every country is looking on Nigeria for Africa to make it and we must not disappoint ourselves, we must not disappoint Africa and we must not disappoint the black race.”

He added, “We do not need rocket science to transform our economy, other oil producing countries have diversified their economies. There is need to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to double digits. The media has a role to play in economic transformation because it is one of the biggest change agents in all societies. The media has to partner the BoI to achieve this. We need your partnerships, we need your collaborations. The only way we can achieve inclusive growth is if we embark on commodity based industrialisation strategy.”

He said BoI is also collaborating with developmental partners, while encouraging state governments to establish industrial parks to localise industrialisation in order to reduce the start and operating expenses for entrepreneurs. 

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director, Corporate Services and Commercials, Mr. Jonathan Tobe, said Africa currently spends $35.4billion annually on food imports where Nigeria accounts for about $11 billion of the staggering figure.

He said rice is a top commodity where Nigeria currently spends huge amount of its foreign exchange to import, saying that BOI has plans to work with the 14 rice producing states in the country to reduce the nation’s import bill for rice.

He stated the need to reverse the trend, commending the federal government’s Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) aimed at linking small holders farmers to integrate rice millers in order to ramp up domestic rice production to replace imported rice.

He said about 78,000 farmers are being trained in Kebbi State by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), pointing out that key output from the initiative will bring about proper identification and organisation of farmers in groups, verification of farm holdings and training of farmers by Nigeria