“I believe by entrenching Good Governance in Nigeria, we will only get better. In other words, you will agree with me we are off to a good start but development takes a long time. It takes One generation, a committed generation to build a country. It is not done in four years. You will agree with me that we are not where we ought to be but it is not done in four years and it is not done in one administration.”
Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, told stakeholders when he delivered the 2018 Public Lecture of Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association (CICAN), weekend in Lagos.
“There is really a lot that are going on in industrial transformation, and we are therefore, very committed towards industrialization of Nigeria but four years is not enough, and we will be dishonest if we claim we have completed the work. You will agree with me that where we are now is not where we ought to be because nation building is long term,” he said.
In his speech titled: ‘Beyond 2019: Leveraging Good Governance for Nigeria’s Industrial Transformation, the Minister noted that although the tasks of industrializing Nigeria cannot and does not rest with the government alone, yet the administration of President Muhamadu Buhari, has been aggressively implementing the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan, NIRP.
“First, we established the Nigerian Industrial and Competitiveness Council; the council comprises senior officials from the government and private sector, Rolled out 40 initiatives through the Industrial Council, the other achievements of this administration in industrialization is implementing the various sect oral policies in areas in which we have comparative advantages primarily in agric and petrochemicals ; example was the fine -tuning of the National Sugar Master Plans, the new tomato policy, the establishment of Presidential Business Enabling Council; Nationwide MSME s Clinics, GEM Project, etc .
“We have also made deliberate policy towards revamping of some industrial parks across the county; the establishment of Special Economic Zones, SEZs, in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“In China, we signed 13 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the Chinese including the MoU signed with Ruyi International Fashion Group for $2 billion investment in an ambitious Cotton Value-Chain Revitalisation Project. This investment will comprise aggregation and off take of cotton, from ginning, spinning and manufacturing of 300 million meters of Africa Prints which will meet 20 percent of West Africa demands for African Prints. They will be producing cotton and weaving denim garments for exports and local consumption.
“The locations of the investments by the Ruyi Group will include Lagos Free Trade Zone, Kano Free Trade Zone and Eyinba City Project in Aba, Abia State.
“Another of the ambitious MoUs we signed was with Volkswagen of Germany represented by its company in South Africa. The MoU is to establish an Automotive Hub in Nigeria that will cover the whole of West Africa and even parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Volkswagen believes that Nigeria can produce up to two million new cars every year if government provides the right eco-friendly system in terms of funding and availability of spare parts which they said they can provide us with about 300,000 or 15 percent of that.
“I thought it is better to speak to you by using these examples to illustrate what happens when you Leverage Good Governance and you might even add ‘Good politics to Nigeria’s development, growth and Industrial transformation,” he said.
Create Enabling Environment for Entrepreneurs- LCCI
Babatunde Ruwase, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, also spoke at the event.
He called on the government to do everything possible to encourage entrepreneurs and professionals in the country.
“This is the way to go if we must diversify our economy, create jobs, reduce unemployment, minimize criminality and above all, advance the welfare of our people.
“It is the entrepreneur that makes things happen in an economy. They are the drivers of the economy and the creators of wealth. An economy can only be as robust as its entrepreneurs. Therefore if we must make progress in this economy, our private sector would have to play a major role. The public sector would also have to create the enabling environment,” he said.