Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Sigma Pensions Limited has identified bad roads and dilapidated infrastructure as key challenges facing the manufacturing industry in the country.
This is as the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) has solicited for a viable manufacturing industry in Nigeria to aid the economic growth of the nation.
Speaking at the first CEO Business Luncheon organised by MAN in Port Harcourt recently, the Head of Investment, Sigma Pension Limited, Pabina Yinkere, said bad roads and dilapidated infrastructure posed a big challenge to the manufacturing sector, adding that the cost of doing business in Nigeria has remained high, hence people prefer to import goods from abroad.
Yinkere, however, advised that for manufacturing industry to thrive and attract more investors and marketers, operators must ensure standard products.
“Nigeria’s manufacturing sector only accounts for about four per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That is insignificant. If we look at the developed economy today, manufacturing accounts for more than 50 per cent of those economics. If you look at countries like China, manufacturing is the significant part of their economy.
“Now, for an industry to get industrialised, it must have a viable manufacturing sector that is contributing a lot to the economy. Because it is in manufacturing that you can create the employment opportunities that help to drive economic activities. It is in manufacturing that you can position yourself to be competitive in particular items.
“So, if you do not have a viable manufacturing sector, it is going to be tough for the country to become industrialised and if you do not become industrialised, it affects how well you can grow and how prosperous your citizens will be.”
He also charged MAN to tackle the impediments that affects the growth of the manufacturing industries in Nigeria.
The Chairman of MAN, Rivers/Bayelsa branch, Senator Adawari Michael Pepple, in his speech, noted that for businesses to thrive, the environment in the state where the business is situated, must be conducive, peaceful and free of fear of criminality.
Speaking on the theme of the business luncheon, “Current Realities in the New African Common Market (AFCFTA): The Role of Nigeria Customs Service and other Business Support Organisation”, Pepple said the meeting became necessary following the fact that the manufacturing industry has always been the key to economic growth and creation of employment in any country.
He said: “There is considerable accumulated evidence that manufacturing still functions as the heart of the economic development process. The operating environment must be conducive and peaceful, free from criminality and fear. We all know that no meaningful development can take place in a chaotic environment.”
He, however, urged the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to extend his developmental drive to setting up a world class industrial cluster in Port Harcourt, hoping that the Port Harcourt Ports could be as smooth as Apapa Ports in Lagos state.
“We want the Port Harcourt Ports to be as smooth as the Apapa Ports. Let the Port Harcourt Port not be made as impossible ground to import products but should compete with that of Apapa ports