For Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow, experts and stakeholders in the manufacturing sector have called for constant engagement of the public and private sector.
They argued that the arrangement would allow the government to understand the needs, requirements and enablers of the manufacturing sector and, thus, provide the enabling environment for it to thrive.
Indeed, the inability of the growing GDP to translate into steady and sustainable development over the years has been linked in part to low productivity and uncompetitive manufacturing sector.
The Chairman of Sterling Bank, Asue Ighodalo, while speaking at the inaugural conference of the Association of Company Secretaries and Legal Advisers in the manufacturing sector (ACSLA), said a country that wanted to develop must have a GDP of about $1 trillion with at least 20 per cent contribution from the manufacturing sector.
Worried by the nine per cent manufacturing sector’s contribution to the GDP, Ighodalo identified some of the factors that scuttled the vision envisaged in drafting the first and second national development plans to include poor implementation, bad leadership, policy flip flops, the curse of oil, corruption and a misaligned workforce.
Speaking on the theme: “Setting a New Agenda for Sustainable Economic Growth – the Imperative of Forging a Public/Private Sector Engagement”, Ighodalo said: “The manufacturing sector’s GDP contribution of less than nine per cent is totally unacceptable.”
He said that before manufacturers tackle government on the situation, it is important for their companies to be well governed, comply and provide the financial statements that are reliable, and then engage government.
While admitting that the Federal Government has been doing some hard work in improving the business environment and infrastructure, Ighodalo said manufacturers must complement the Federal Government by ensuring that their companies are well run and are focused and strategic.
He said when this is done, manufacturers will, hopefully in the next few years, begin to see remarkable improvement. “We really need to get our manufacturing sector working in all aspects as it is fundamental to our economic growth and development,” Ighodalo said, adding that there is need to encourage export and reduce bureaucracy for exporters.
Bearing in mind that no sector can survive without effective regulations and enforcement, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar Onyema, stressed the need to build a viable and legal frame work for the manufacturing sector.
He said that it is important that the current legal and regulatory framework is reviewed to address vital areas, noting that as in-house counsel, it is pertinent to take up the challenge by undertaking an in-depth review of the current legal and regulatory framework.
According to him, this is with a view to improving what currently entails and by pushing persistently on the doors of stakeholders that needs to implement the change.
Onyema, who was represented by the NSE Legal Adviser/Head, Legal Department, Irene Robinson-Ayanwale, gave an analysis on how the manufacturing sector has fared in the Nigerian capital market and how to forge a workable private sector engagement in order to achieve a sustainable growth.
Onyema said: “We must all be fully ready to act as catalyst and realise that our respective contributions towards the goal is necessary to galvanise the economic growth we all strive for.
The benefits the exchange offers the manufacturing sector is global, diverse, nucleus and all encompassing.”
The NSE boss noted that sustainable economic growth cannot be achieved without a firm handshake between the public and private sector, with both sectors leveraging on the financial infrastructure, technology and above all benefits that the exchange provides for the ease and efficiency of doing business in Nigeria.
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