Posted by News Express | 26 August 2013 | 5,623 times
The Nigerian Government is considering the establishment of a one-stop agency to promote industrialisation in Nigeria, similar to those for export, as well as push for local content in Nigerian manufacturing.
Trade and Investment Minister, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, disclosed this at the weekend while speaking during a visit to Bio Organics Nutrient Systems Limited, Ota, Ogun State-based scientific enterprise that manufactures vitamins and minerals premixes. Aganga said that a plan known as Nigerian Industrial Revolution is in the works to encourage various industries and sectors such as automobiles and textiles, among others.
Dr. Aganga stated: “One of the reasons we have suffered as a country for decades is that we do not have one agency to sponsor for industrial development. And yet we want to industrialise. You have for investment, export promotion and none for industrial development. So, it was completely wrong. There is an institution to drive all this. That is what we are doing; that is the plan we have. We have started it, we are incorporating them already and we will implement them.
“There is no way we are to diversify our economy without focusing on industrialisation. No country has managed through that. The country cannot rely on the export of raw materials if we don’t have the industrial services sector. So this plan focuses on strategic areas to drive great revenue, where Nigeria can be number one in Africa and Top Ten globally.”
The minister also stated government policy to patronise and support products of indigenous companies because this adds to development, economic growth and job creation. “We have something in the oil and gas industry which is the local content. We have government policies that will encourage local industries and we are strengthening them. So, very soon you will hear the government announce the indigenous patronage policy,” he added.
Dr. Aganga expressed faith in the capacity of firms owned and run by Nigerian industrialists. “The beauty about the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan is that it goes beyond the old ways of looking at things. It is about building the corporate business of the sector, it is about removing barriers. Then of course increase the industrial utilisation capacity and the competitiveness of the sector,” he stated.
Explaining the challenges of Bio-Organics to the Minister, Managing Director of Bio-Organics, Dr. Kenny Acholonu, said some of the challenges the company as well as other indigenous industry face include low commitment from large companies, patronage of foreign companies while neglecting local manufacturers, high cost of finance, and dumping of low cost products by foreign firms.
Dr. Acholonu appealed to the government to help with policies that support patronage of local products and to promote it throughout Africa. Bio Organics is certified by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and has the International Standards Organisation certification to manufacture vitamins and mineral premixes. Only recently it successfully domesticated production of a food fortification product for local foods that fights malnutrition.
Dr. Acholonu, while presenting the product, Enrich, told Dr. Aganga: “We present this to you to support us at the Federal Government level so that nobody should bring in same products; that this company can produce up to 1 million sachets.”
He said the indigenous product has competitive quality to those imported into the country, yet some companies buy from foreign manufacturers. Dr Acholonu further said Bio-Organics can produce up to 1.5 million sachets of Enrich, a food fortification product manufactured to supply essential nutrients to food.
Managing Director of Bio-Organics Limited, Mr. Ola Oloke, explained that “the product is targeted at malnourished children 6-59 months. It is aimed to achieve one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of bringing down the level of malnutrition in Nigeria. One of the slides showed that Kebbi State spent hundreds of millions to address the issue of malnutrition but huge part of the money went to foreign company who supplied. So this product will help bring down the level of malnutrition, infant and maternal mortality.”
Aganga commended Bio Organics, stressing the need to create awareness that these products are available locally so that people can support them. He stated that local firms such as Bio Organics have “the potential to be far more successful by all standards. We are aware of the challenges they have. The beauty about the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan is that it goes beyond the old ways of looking at things. It is about building the corporate business of the sector, it is about removing barriers. Then of course increase the industrial utilisation capacity and the competitiveness of the sector.
“I want to commend and congratulate you (Bio-Organics) for what you have done over the last 26 or 27 years. It was not easy starting and running a business in this country. The aspiration you have gotten is to make it easier as we create enabling environment for industries to thrive.
“Part of the plans we have now is that we have developed what we call the Nigeria Industrial Revolution. And that plan itself is very different from whatever we have done in the past. In keeping the course very strategic, we are looking at sectors where Nigeria has competitive and comparative advantage. We have selected industries where Nigeria can be number one in Africa and top ten globally. It is also holistic in the sense that we look at cluster approach and you look at the whole ecosystem of the sector.
“We are looking at it across value chain. So, we are saying for you to have a successful automobile industry, you need to have the other sectors also working. For example, most of the cars we have are made from steel and plastic, so it is important that we support the petrol chemical industry to produce the plastic we need for the cars. Most of the cars we have are made of high concentrated plastic products. It is important you that you produce rubbers for tyres from rubber plantations, we use to have tyres producing companies like Dunlop and Michelin in those days,” the minister said.
The Minister after a tour of the factory of the company said, “We will look into the specific issues and see how we can accelerate it. We will see whether we can get together even if it is just 10 or 15 of the potential customers. Let us have a dialogue with them. And see how we can progress.”
Established in 1987, Bio-Organics Nutrients System Limited started operations in 1991. It produces nutrients solutions for companies that manufacture foods and beverages in Nigeria. It has won awards including recognitions from national and international organisations such as Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Foods Administration and Control (NAFDAC), United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) among others.
•Photo: Trade Minister, Dr. Aganga, encouraging MD of Bio Organics, Dr. Acholonu . . . over the weekend in Ota.
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