Industrialization growth in Nigeria is stifled by vagaries of factors embedded in unstable political environment, dearth of basic infrastructure, poor macroeconomic management, overregulation and multiple taxation, among others.
These factors came to light at the Annual conference of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers held recently in Port-Harcourt, where experts in the manufacturing sector examined the country’s industrialization policy since independence with its attendant opportunities, challenges and the way forward.
In a presentation titled: ‘Domestic Manufacturing: Opportunities and Challenges’ Mr. Paul Gbadebo, Group Managing Director, Flour Mills Nigeria PLC, frowned at the political landscape in Nigeria, which he said was still characterized by youth, ethnic, religious restiveness, insecurity and policy inconsistencies.
He stated that the operating landscape in the business environment in Nigeria was riddled with adverse challenges which include dearth of basic infrastructure, poor macroeconomic management, over regulation and multiple taxation.
Mr. Gbadebo lamented the country’s dilapidated infrastructural base, including a failed road network, inefficient railway system, frequent power outages and under-developed water-ways system as other critical challenges confronting industrialization growth in Nigeria.
The Flour Mills GMD condemned government policy inadequacy, inconsistency and reversals as being major constraints to industrialization in Nigeria, while on the regulatory landscape, challenges affecting manufacturing sector include over regulation, multiple taxes/levies, ports issues, poor financing initiatives and inadequate specialized funding windows.
Speaking on the way forward, Mr.Gbadebo believed that despite the challenges and constraints, the industrial potential of Nigeria is indeed promising due to the country’s huge economic endowments, arguing that the charge would be to transform the resource-based comparative advantages into competitiveness.
The industrialist said finding solutions calls for state interventions within the framework of public-private partnership, and more importantly, government policy initiatives as being critical for the successful transformation of our resource-based comparative advantage to competitiveness.
He recommended that to boost competitiveness, the manufacturing industry must embrace digitalization, innovation, and skill development.
Speaking on the benefits of industrialization, the expert identified the following: increase in national income, higher standard of living, economic and social stability, improvement in balance of payments and foreign trade, stimulated progress in other sectors, increased employment opportunities and specialization of labour, as well as large scope for technological progress.