FG to Industrialists: Embrace Artificial Intelligence, Green Energy to Improve Efficiency, Drive Productivity

Dike Onwuamaeze

The federal government has advised Nigerian industrialists to leverage on emerging trends in artificial intelligence, automation, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to enhance their efficiency and productivity because the future of manufacturing lies on technological advancement and innovation. 

This advise was delivered Tuesday in Lagos by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Mr. Uche Nnaji, in their keynote addresses delivered at the opening ceremony of 2023 edition of the 7th Nigeria Manufacturing and Equipment Expo (NME) and the 9th Nigeria Raw Materials Expo with the theme “Future Manufacturing: Building a Sustainable Roadmap to the Industrialisation of Nigeria.”

The expo was organised by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC). 

Uzoka-Anite said: “It is gratifying to note that the future of manufacturing in Nigeria relies on our ability to embrace technological advancements and innovation.

“We must leverage emerging trends such as artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to enhance our manufacturing processes, improve efficiency, and drive productivity.

“By adopting these cutting-edge technologies, we can boost the competitiveness of our local manufacturers and position Nigeria as a global manufacturing hub.”

The minister, who was represented by the Deputy Director (PPW/Agro) Industrial Development Department, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Olumuyiwa A. Ajayi-Ade, added that the future of manufacturing also lies in harnessing the potential of renewable energy sources.

“As we transit to a greener economy, it is imperative that we promote the use of clean and sustainable energy in our manufacturing processes. This will not only help reduce our carbon footprint but also create new job and investment opportunities in the renewable energy sector,” the minister said.

She also harped on the need for industrialists to prioritise the development of the country’s raw materials sector to support Nigerian manufacturing industry.

According to her, “by focusing on value addition and local sourcing we can reduce our reliance on imported raw materials and improve the overall competitiveness of our products.

“This will also contribute to the growth of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and empower local entrepreneurs to participate actively in the manufacturing value chain.”

The minister also said that the federal government is dedicated to fostering conducive environment for manufacturers to flourish.

“Our commitment extends to the implementation of policies and programs that facilitate ease of doing business, improve access to finance for manufacturers, and enhance infrastructure and logistics to bolster the growth of the manufacturing sector,” Uzoka-Anite said.

Speaking in the same vein, Nnaji, noted that the expo would deepen local raw materials sourcing by the manufacturers for sustainable industrial development, is a timely event that would serve “as a critical window to embrace machinery and equipment to produce goods, support sustainable development and ensure that we are not dependent on developed nations.”

He said that this year’s event could not have been held at a better time than now with the imperative to support the federal government’s Renewed Hope Agenda to address the nation’s economic crisis.

According to him, “it is a well-known dictum that any country that does not stand its developmental efforts on Science, Technology and Innovation cannot expect dividend of socio-economic rejuvenation, which underscores the indispensable need to deploy a demand-driven research and development solution.

“Hence, the need to recognise the relationship between sustainable market and demand driven research and societal development for economic growth and industrialiation built on the untiring efforts of the organised private sector of our economy.” 

A retired Permanent Secretary and former Director General of the Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC), Dr. Abdullahi Aliyu, who presented a paper on “Opportunities for Jobs Creation and Wealth Generation with Special Emphasis on Raw Materials Value Addition,” said that the expo would further strengthen the close relationship between MAN and RMRDC and reconfirm the fact that MAN is the mother of RMRDC. 

Aliyu said that the RMRDC is Nigeria’s focal point for the development and utilisation of the nation’s vast industrial raw materials. 

He also identified the production of fertilizer as one of the most viable investment opportunities in Nigeria that could create jobs, generate wealth and also ensure the economic growth of the country, including “an organic fertilizer production plant with a capacity of 200,000 metric tonnes per annum.”

The President of MAN, Mr. Francis Meshioye, in his welcome address appreciated the current administration’s support for the manufacturing sector particularly in ensuring that the operating environment becomes increasingly conducive to help businesses thrive. 

Meshioye also said that the theme of the 2023 EXPO is “informed by the unprecedented rate in which our world is changing in terms of innovative technologies, shifting customer expectations, as well as increasing social awareness of gender equity and restoration of previously marginalised communities.

“These major shifts have a considerable impact on the future of the manufacturing sector.

“By successfully assimilating advanced technologies into their systems, existing and prospective industrialists can expect to realise even greater revenue and profits from their investments.” 

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