By Naomi Uzor
NIGERIA’s inability to produce goods and services for its domestic needs has been described as shameful. Dr. Lema Jubril, elder statesman and industrialist, passed the verdict at a farewell dinner for exhibitors to mark the end of the recently concluded Kaduna Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA).
Although he absolved current leadership of blame over the economic recession, Jubril blamed low domestic production as a key reason behind the economic recession.
He stated: “We must realize that the economic hardship we face in this country is really international, it’s not only in Nigeria; just as Egypt has just devalued its currency for the sixth time in many months. We know officially we have not devalued, but everyone knows that the naira has been devalued at least 50-70 percent.
“This is so because we rely so much on imports and this is the problem. All these years we are not able to produce most of our requirements. Nigeria now imports almost 85 percent of all our national requirements. This is simply not good enough. It’s really a shame that we still import that much for our requirements.”
The industrialist said that almost 92 percent of every Naira spent in Nigeria finds its way abroad due to inability to produce.
He urged a rethink of the unpleasant trend and a quick strategy to reverse it. “We must re-orientate ourselves towards our self-sustenance in all areas of human endeavour. We have the talents, we have the resources; why can’t we manufacture here at home and generate employment? We have to learn basic skills in medicine, engineering, architecture. Basic things like plumbing, carpentry that will generate employment and help the socio-economic upliftment of this nation must be learned,” he said.
Similarly, Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai expressed the readiness of his government to partner with the business community to industrialize the State and make Kaduna the first investment destination in the country.
El-rufai who was represented by the State’s Commissioner for Commerce, Dr. Manzo Daniel Maigari, also said the State would depend on the organized private sector to actualize its 200,000 annual job creation target, saying efforts are being put in place to seamlessly aid businesses in the state.