By Perpetua Onuegbu
The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has urged the Federal Government to insulate strategic industrial policies from political interference to ensure the growth and competitiveness of the manufacturing sector.
The President of NSE, Mr Tasiu Gidari-Wudil, said the society urged government to provide enabling policies and enforcement to ensure transparency in regulations impacting manufacturing, simplify regulations and procedures under Made-in-Nigeria products.
Gidari-Wudil said while presenting the communique that the problem of Ajaokuta was caused by political and deliberate government decisions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 56th National Engineering Conference, Exhibition and Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the NSE is tagged “ABUJA 2023”.
It was held from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1.
Gidari-Wudil said that the failure of the multi-trillion naira Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex was because of negative policies of government.
He, therefore, called on government to separate strategic industrial policies from political interference for a full reactivation of the complex and the manufacturing sector.
He said that the Federal Government should hand over the complex to engineers for reactivation, adding that government should challenge the engineers and see if they would not reactivate the complex.
“Conference recommended that the government should make deliberate and sustainable efforts geared towards achieving full reactivation, rehabilitation and modernisation of the complex for sustainable industrial growth and development.
“Government and relevant stakeholders should develop policies and incentives that specifically target rural Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), such as tax breaks, subsidies and grants for start-ups.
He added that as part of efforts to support rural MSMEs, the government should make registration of businesses easy.
“The government should simplify and streamline bureaucratic procedures for business registration, licensing and compliance; encourage the private sector to collaborate with civil society organisations to leverage their resources, expertise, and networks in supporting rural MSMEs.
“Government and relevant stakeholders should pre-select and prioritise dominant economic activities in designated rural areas with comparative advantage, identify the value chains, develop proper and sellable business cases.
Experts, according to the communique, called on the government and the private sector to increase investments and funding in education and research.
“Government should, as a matter of policy, increase investments directed at education and training programmes to equip the workforce with the required skills needed by the evolving manufacturing sector.
“Green energy remains the only possible way to address both the energy shortage and at the same time ensure sustainability.
“Thus, conference urges the government and relevant stakeholders to properly harness, manage and commercialise appropriate energy mix.”
Government should also develop guidelines for eco-friendly production and the promotion of green certification for the manufacturing sector.
They further recommended that government should collaborate with regional and continental bodies like African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Such collaboration should focus on the need for strategic alliances, trade agreements, and export diversification to enhance the competitiveness of Nigerian manufactured goods on the international stage.
They advocated synergy amongst government, organised private sector and other relevant stakeholders for innovative financing mechanisms, such as venture capital.
The experts also advocated public-private partnerships, soft loan and tax incentives for investments in manufacturing.
The communique stated that the partnership would attract the necessary capital for sectoral modernisation, research, development and technology acquisition. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman