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Experts proffer ways to achieve economic growth

Experts proffer ways to achieve economic growth

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Nigeria can grow its economy by embracing technology, promoting local content and industrialisation, some experts have said.

They spoke at the celebration of this year’s African Industrialisation Day, with the theme: “Promoting regional value chains in Africa: A pathway for accelerating Africa’s structural transformation, industrialisation and pharmaceutical production”.

The day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 to enable African governments to examine ways to stimulate industrialisation process and draw worldwide media attention to the problems of industrialisation on the continent.

The International Institute for Training, Research and Economic Development (IITRED) President, Mr. Sani Dawop, said inclusive industrialisation could take place in the country when local products were given priority.

He asked the government to insist that whatever is used within the purview of government is locally made. He said when that is done, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) will follow suit.

He said: “In doing that, government should also ensure that procurement from MDAs is from local manufacturers because government is the highest spender. Except where we do not have local manufacturers on a product, then we can import.

‘’We should be able to bring our engineers together, support them with funds and encourage researchers to come up with innovations in different areas of development.

“When we have the resources, we put together these resources at highly tolerable interest rate where entrepreneurs, investors, manufacturers can access these funds because the cost of fund must be cheap.”

According to Dawop, the economy depends on what the government buys, so if the government continues to buy imported goods then the economy will not grow.

He said though the Federal Government had, earlier in the year, signed the Executive Orders to promote local content, especially among MDAs, monitoring and evaluating those policies were needed to ensure implementation.

Former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, said dependence on oil was no longer sustainable and Nigeria is now living in a post oil industrial economy.

“New technologies are taking over from oil. Many developed economies have put a dateline to all manufacturers of automobiles to move from petrol to electro cars.

“Nearly 70 per cent consumption of petrol is automobiles and that age has come to an end. We have to embrace industrialisation, technology which is the only way we can absorb millions of young people that are unemployed,” he said.

According to him, oil accounts only for 10 per cent of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but paradoxically accounts for over 90 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign earnings and over 50 per cent of government revenue.

Mailafia, however, observed that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that drive industrialisation were gaining low support from the government.

He said business environment for SMEs was harsh, as they have no easy access to loans as well as internal challenges of lack of skills.

The economist called on the government to place premium on supporting the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (MSME) sector because it would foster development in the country.


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