Nigeria@62: FG must sustain non-oil campaign, financing to boost manufacturing An analysis by Rukayat Moisemhe, News Agency of NigeriaAs the Federal Government rolls out the drums to celebrate the country’s 62nd independence anniversary, stakeholders in the manufacturing industry insist targeted campaigns and financing must be sustained to boost non-oil exports in order to achieve economic growth.
The call is, indeed, imperative seeing that the country’s economy, 62 years post independence, is said to be a mixed bag of lows and highs.
At 62, Nigeria remains the biggest economy on the continent with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over 510 billion dollars.
The country is also ranked sixth among the top ten manufacturing destinations on the continent.
Economic indicators reveal that the country’s GDP grew in the second quarter of 2022 by 3.54 per cent year-on-year in real terms, while its oil sector has consistently recorded negative growth for the ninth consecutive quarter, contracting by -11.8 per cent.
Combined, key drivers within the non-oil economy accounted for 78.3 per cent of total GDP in Q2. Compared to countries like Cameroon, Togo, Madagascar, Somalia, Gabon, Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania, and a host of others, that attained independence in 1960, experts believe that even though Nigeria is not doing badly, there is great room for improvement.
Dr Chinyere Almona, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), stated that the country’s economic growth trend, measured by the performance of GDP, had generally been positive over the last two decades.
She, however, noted that the growth of 1.2 per cent recorded for agriculture and the 3 per cent for manufacturing were comparatively low when compared with other sectors that grew at above 5 per cent.
She stated that the quality of the business environment remained a concern to investors, especially in the manufacturing sector.
According to her, weak infrastructure, uncertain policy environment, and institutions have continued to adversely affect the efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness of many enterprises in the economy posing a major risk to job creation and economic inclusion across sectors.
The LCCI DG noted the need to address the weak government revenue base caused by oil theft and pipeline vandalism, rising and unsustainable debt profile, over-dependence on oil revenue, exposure to foreign shocks through inadequate forex supply and double-digit inflation.
In view of this, Almona stated that the Federal Government must sustain its targeted interventions in selected critical sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, export infrastructure and tackling insecurity.
She added that if oil revenue made up more than 80 per cent of government revenue, government was expected to tackle the menace of oil theft and pipeline vandalism with sterner approach.
“It is impossible to have a vibrant manufacturing sector in the face of cheap imports into the country and high production and operating cost in the domestic economy.
“For most manufacturing businesses, it is a nightmare; yet, production is critical to enduring economic and social stability.
“The way forward is to address the fundamental constraints to manufacturing competitiveness in the Nigerian economy.
“Our nation is at a crossroads and in dire need of big decisions to drive the drastic transformation the economy requires to return to economic prosperity,” she said.
Looking back, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said the discovery of oil ushered in a period of prosperity in the form of huge oil revenue from export of crude oil and more domestic infrastructural development was embarked upon.
The MAN DG stated that the manufacturing sector had been largely unimpressive as the country remained largely import dependent.
He noted that the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war had compounded the familiar challenges that had limited the growth and development of the manufacturing sector.
He added that inflation; which had risen to 20 per cent; interest rate at double digits, high rate of foreign exchange and the non prioritisation of allocation to the sector truncated its growth prospects, disrupted its operations and continued to limit the potential of the sector for expansion.
“There is, therefore, the need to address the binding constraints that have continued to militate against the performance of the manufacturing sector and limited its share of contribution to the GDP,” he said.
He recommended that investments in local raw materials through direct incentives must be encouraged and significant proportion of available foreign exchange must be allocated to the productive sector, particularly manufacturing.
Ajayi-Kadir stressed that export support policies, like the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), must operate as planned and other support policies must be allowed to gestate before they are changed.
“The country must improve power supply by removing the impediments to access of the eligible customers scheme by manufacturers.
“We must review the curricular of tertiary institutions to align with industry skill requirements and subject to update based on the direction of global changes.
“Existing major economic road corridors must be rehabilitated and new ones must be constructed for seamless movement of raw materials to factories and finished goods to the markets.
“Also, the capital base of the Bank of Industry (BOI) must be improved to allow for adequate lending to the productive sector by the bank,” he said.
Dr Muda Yusuf, Founder, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprises (CPPE), noted that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) aviation, transportation, education sector, health sector, print and electronic media and many more had been significantly transformed over the past six decades.
Accordingly, Yusuf said the economy had witnessed impactful private sector footprints in many sectors, which had made the Nigerian economy to grow in leaps and bounds over the years.
He, however, stated that the country’s macroeconomic management framework continued to pose serious challenges to investors in the economy as the fragile macroeconomic conditions remained a major cause for concern.
The situation, he posited, had been compounded by the shocks and disruptions inflicted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
For the manufacturing sector, Yusuf said high infrastructure deficit, cargo clearing challenges worsening at the ports, weak productivity, regulatory challenges and policy inconsistency, among others, continued to beat down the sector’s potential.
As way forward, he stressed the need for urgent steps to be taken to ensure a better macroeconomic management framework to stabilise the exchange rate, eradicate the challenge of illiquidity in the foreign exchange market and stem the current depreciation of the naira.
“Institutional reforms are necessary to ensure that the regulatory institutions have better disposition to support the growth of investment and focus less on the generation of revenue.
“The international trade process needs to be reformed to prioritise trade facilitation.
“The current obsession for revenue generation is hurting the international trade processes and impacting adversely on domestic and foreign investment.
“Therefore, the orientation of the Nigeria Custom Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, the shipping companies and the terminal operators and the security agencies at the ports need to change in favour of an investment friendly international trade processes,” he said.
The journey thus far for the Nigerian economy, particularly manufacturing, has no doubt, been fraught with daunting challenges.
But experts believe that the country has the potential to attain economic growth and development.
A Kaduna-based ICT group, Natsa Foni Foundation, has resolved to provide training on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to pupils of a public primary school, LEA Karji, in Kaduna.
The Executive Director of the Foundation, Mr Leslie Dongh, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Thursday that the gesture was to bridge the ICT gap among primary school pupils.
Dongh said that the gesture was part of the Foundation’s activities under the platform of the Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism.
He said that the engagement of the basic education sector revealed that most public primary schools in the state had been left behind in terms of ICT, even when the world was currently ICT-driven.
“It grieves my heart that over 90 per cent of public primary schools do not have basic facilities needed to teach the children basic ICT skills.
“Although most of the primary schools teach some form of ICT, it is mainly theoretical due to lack of computer laboratories and other facilities necessary for practical teaching of ICT.
“I, therefore, see the need to bring my ICT gadgets to teach the pupils the practical aspect of computer to inspire them into learning more, and also build on the foundation,” he said.
The executive director said that Karji primary school was the pilot school for such training, adding that the Foundation would adopt another primary school and a secondary school to help the students.
He said that a three-month practical curriculum had been designed to cover a whole term, one hour every week, to provide hands-on ICT training to pupils for them to meet up with current developments.
He called on the state government to consider organising training on ICT for primary school teachers, equip primary schools with ICT facilities and electricity to make practical teaching of ICT possible and effective.
The Head Teacher of the school, Ms Baboshiya James, commended the foundation for the support, noting that the training on ICT in the schools had been theoretical due to lack of computers.
“We are only teaching them theoretical aspects of ICT, with no form of practical because we do not have a single computer in the school.
“We are calling on the government, the private sector and other development partners, to support the school with computer facilities to enable the pupils put what they have learned to practice,” she said.
One of the pupils, Joel Moses, who said he never touched a computer before, expressed joy that he was able to, for the first time, type his name on a computer during the training.
“It was so interesting and fulfilling to finally touch a computer and type my name in it; I did not want it to stop.
“I pray for more such opportunities to learn about ICT, and be able to touch a computer and do things with it,” said the visibly excited Moses, who is the Head Boy of the school.
Also, the Assistant Head Girl of the school, Rejoice Oguche said: “It feels good to finally touch a computer.
“The little I knew about a computer is mainly theory without seeing it, or touching it to see if it can do what our teachers said it could do.
“Today, I had a chance to click on a mouse and write my name on a computer; It feels so great,” she said.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) on Thursday equipped 90 entrepreneurs with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills to drive technology adoption for businesses in the country.
The beneficiaries were presented with equipment for digital marketing, phone repairs and computers at the official closing ceremony of the first phase of the National Vocational Training and Entrepreneurial Scheme on ICT, on Thursday in Lagos.
Director-General, SMEDAN, Mr Olawale Fasanya, said the scheme was to equip entrepreneurs with e-commerce skills to shore up their contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He stated that the commitment of the participants would motivate government to do more after an impact assessment.
He encouraged the beneficiaries to maximise the opportunities availed them by the training programme and assured of support for MSMEs to help them grow.
“ICT skill development is one of the priority areas identified by the agency to facilitate and sustain a vibrant MSME sub-sector that will be the major driver of national economic growth and development.
“The objective of the programme is to develop participants and train the network of businesses, while promoting computer literacy as ICT is a means of granting access to the world market,” he said.
He said online applications could be used for accounting and downloadable softwares which were available for business communication and documents sharing for small scale businesses.
“It is key to note that some of the business challenges like cybercrime, phishing, online theft would be tackled and must not hinder participants from harnessing the opportunities available to them.
“SMEDAN will continue to support towards ensuring that we achieve the MSMEs sub-sector of our dream in the areas of job creation, wealth creation and poverty alleviation,” he said.
An Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centre jointly built and equipped by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and Kaduna State University (KASU) was inaugurated at the school’s campus on Thursday.
The centre, provided by the duo through 50 per cent equity funding each, has four lecture halls of 120-seat capacity each.
Head of NAICOM’s Kaduna Zonal Office, Alhaji Ahmed Abubakar, who represented the National Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Thomas Sunday, said the project was part of NAICOM’s corporate social responsibility.
He added that the support was also part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the university to promote the development of education in the state and in the country.
“NAICOM is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the effective administration, supervision, regulation, and control of insurance business in Nigeria.
“It is also mandated to protect insurance policy holders, beneficiaries and third parties to insurance contracts.
“The commission is also contributing to educational programmes for the development of the country,’’ he said.
In his remarks, acting vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Abdullahi Ashafa, commended NAICOM for the support and expressed optimism of a stronger partnership between KASU and the Commission.
Ashafa said that the facility, which would increase access to ICT facilities in the university, would be put to good use, particularly in the area of training and conduct of computer-based examinations.
“The management of the university is looking forward to more collaboration with NAICOM in increasing the frontiers of knowledge in the area of ICT and other skills areas that would solve societal problems,’’ he said.
Ashafa added that the university was working toward introducing a post-graduate programme in insurance to deepen collaboration with the Commission.
The Kaduna State Government has urged youth to enroll into the Federal Government’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (T-MAX) programme.
T-Max project is a Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) framework designed to equip Nigerians with technical and vocational skills.
The project seek to maximise existing private and public TVET centres and resources across the country.
The T-MAX project announced that its registration portal would open on Wednesday, Sept. 7.The Commissioner for Business, Innovation and Technology Prof. Kabir Mato made the call on the sideline of a master trainers’ meeting of the project, on Tuesday in Kaduna.
He said the project was in line with the state government’s programme under human capital development, adding that skills development was a focal area of human capital development.
Represented by Sagir Balarabe, Special Adviser to Gov. Nasir El-Rufai on Human Capital Development, Mato said about 2,000 youths would benefit from the programme in the state.
“The ministry in collaboration with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Educational Intervention have identified training centres for the programme.
“The training portal will be open tomorrow, trainees are expected to log in all their details after which there will be screening and training would commenced,” he said.
He said the trainees would be exposed to automobile; agriprenuership, agricultural processing and packaging, building, leather works and processing as well as Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
According to him, 40 per cent of the trainees will receive starter packs base on their performances while prizes will be presented to best graduates of the training programme.
Also, Mr Garba Hassan, Area Manager, ITF Kaduna Area Office, said the programme was designed to engage only unemployed and out-of-school youths within the age bracket of 18 to 35 years.
He said every eligible youths would be given fair chance, and urged them to apply via: www.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that T-MAX project targeted about 15,000 youths in seven participating states in the country.
They are Kaduna; Gombe, Nasarawa, Ogun, Edo, Enugu and Lagos States.
Ogun has signed an agreement with the German Agency for Development (GIZ) to train 3,500 entrepreneurs on how to create, start and grow their businesses in a sustainable manner.
Remi Ogunmefun, Special Adviser on Industry, Trade and Investment to Gov. Dapo Abiodun, made the disclosure in Abeokuta on Monday.
He stated that the agreement aimed at building a vibrant Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sub-sector and encourage entrepreneurship.
He added that the training would help participants to access markets, build value chain linkages, and prepare their businesses for funding and sustainable operations.
Ogunmefun stated also that the training would be open to entrepreneurs in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), cassava , food and beverages, fashion, textiles and beauty care sectors.
“At least 1,072 entrepreneurs shortlisted through the first batch of applications for the Ogun Govt.-GIZ Entrepreneurship Development Training programme are currently undergoing training.
“The second batch of registration for the training programme has started via https:.
ng “As many eligible entrepreneurs as possible are expected to take advantage of this window to be part of the remaining 2,500 entrepreneurs.
“They would be trained between November 2022 and January 2023,’’ Ogunmefun stated.
The special adviser enjoined those who needed further information on the programme to call 08033762594 or 08057033027 or email: ogunmsme@ogunstate.
Mr Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings, and other Information and Communication Technology (ICT) stakeholders on Wednesday called for the scaling up of Nigeria’s digital infrastructure.
Elumelu, represented by Mr Peter Ashade, Group Chief Executive Officer, United Capital Plc, gave the advice at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Information Communication Technology and Telecommunication (ICTEL) Expo in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the expo, which is in its 8th year, had as its theme: “Ensuring Efficient Digital Infrastructure in Nigeria.
” Elumelu said the growth of the country’s Fintech indicated the need to rapidly scale up the digital infrastructure, seeing that in 2021, Nigeria’s Fintech startups raised about 730 million dollars in investments.
He, however, noted that the country’s internet base was barely half of its population at the start of 2022 with 51 per cent internet penetration, 44 per cent broadband penetration and 54 per cent 3G coverage.
He said the deployment of the 5G network spectrum in rural areas was currently low and presented huge opportunities for the private sector to drive economic growth in the informal sector, which dominated rural activities.
He stressed that private participation was needed to spur the adoption and use of broadband.
“There must be preferential taxation for providers who agree on specific universal access targets.
“There’s also the need to review spectrum policies, provide more license spectrums and focus more on transparency initiative to reduce uncertainty around long-term investments for private investors.
“Heirs holdings is uniquely positioned to work with ICT industry stakeholders on specialised financing for ICT infrastructure projects, amongst others, seeing that digital infrastructure is the growth catalyst for modern economies,” he said.
Prof. Mohammad Abubakar, Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Ltd., (GBB), said public-private partnership (PPP) was essential to providing efficient digital infrastructure in accelerating digital transformation, through collaborations and effective communication across borders.
Abubakar was represented by Mr Dauda Oyeleye, Group Head, Business Development, GBB.
He said to further solidify GBB the company created an Enterprise Business Group (EBG) tasked with the sole responsibility of managing private customers as well as structured partnerships.
He stated that GBB had a pervasive fibre connectivity network across the nation, which the private sector could key into.
“We have established partnerships with managed service providers, real estate developers, as well as other local organisations to reach the goal of attaining a digital Nigeria.
“Our state-of-the-art infrastructure has been instrumental in sealing these deals and the partnerships just keep getting better.
“GBB has taken steps to secure public confidence in the use of its digital infrastructure, through trusted international third-party attestations and would continue to redefine collaboration within and outside the country,” he said.
Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, President, LCCI, said the theme was in view of the fact that the Federal Government had announced a target of 40 billion dollars private capital investment in digital infrastructure by 2025, beside facilitating about 1 billion dollars in private equity.
He added that government recently inaugurated the National Council on Infrastructure, with a plan to double Nigeria’s infrastructure stock of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the prevailing 35 per cent to about 70 per cent.
The LCCI president said the 2022 ICTEL EXPO would give deserved focus to digital infrastructure because, over the decades, next to corruption, poor infrastructure was Nigeria’s greatest socio-economic development challenge.
“The ones commonly focused on are power, roads, water but we dare say, however, that as critical as the listed ones and indeed others not listed are, if Nigeria gets digital infrastructure right, the benefits to the nation’s ICT sector and on government’s digital economy agenda would be enormous.
“The 2022 ICTEL EXPO will also create a platform for all stakeholders to engage in robust discussions on government’s plans to grow the digital economy from 10.68 per cent to 12.54 per cent and improve e-governance by 100 per cent by 2025,” he said.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Information and Communication Technology (ICT),sector had contributed 18.44 per cent to the ‘Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product Report’ for Q2 2022. Dr Femi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant Research and Development to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, made this known in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
Adeluyi said that the digital economy sector under Prof. Isa Pantami has continued its trend of playing a key part in the growth on Nigeria’s economy.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Pantami, was very excited to hear of the remarkable contribution of the ICT sector to Nigeria’s GDP in the quarter under review.
According to him, the oil sector contributed 6.33 per cent to the total real GDP in Q2 2022, which was lower than the contribution in Q2 ‘2021 and Q1 ‘2022, where it contributed 7.42% and 6.63%, respectively.
“The non-oil sector’s contribution grew by 4.77 per cent in real terms, resulting in a 93.67 per cent contribution to the nation’s GDP in the Q2 ‘2022. “This was higher than Q2 ‘2021 and Q2 ‘2022, where it contributed 92.58 per cent and 93.37 per cent, respectively,”he said.
Pantami said that the growing contribution of the sector to the GDP was as a result of the commitment of the current administration to the development of the digital economy.
He said that the unprecedented contribution of ICT to Nigeria’s GDP can also be attributed to the dynamic and results-oriented leadership of the sector.
He, however, said that the Report had shown how critical the ICT sector was to the growth of the country’s digital economy and, by extension, the general economy.
“The diligent implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria, stakeholder engagement and creation of an enabling environment have all played an important role in this achievement.
“The support of President Muhammadu Buhari, has contributed immensely to the impressive developments in the sector.
“The unprecedented contribution of ICT to Nigeria’s GDP can also be attributed to the dynamic and results-oriented leadership of the sector,” he said.
Pantami congratulated stakeholders in the digital economy ecosystem for this cheering news.
He called on all sectors to take advantage of the Federal Government’s new focus on the digital economy to enable and improve their processes through the use of ICTs. He added: “This would enhance the output of all the sectors of the economy and boost Nigeria’s GDP.
The Director-General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Fadah, says the scheme will continue to sustain transparent and credible mobilisation process of enlisting only qualified Prospective Corps Members (PCM) for national service.
Fadah said this in a statement issued by the NYSC Director, Press and Public Relations, Mr Eddy Megwa, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Fadah made the committment at the opening ceremony of the capacity building workshop for deployment and relocation officers from the 36 State Secretariats of the Scheme including the FCT.
The workshop had as its theme “Equipping the Deployment and Relocation Officers for Greater Performance”.
Fadah, who was represented by the Director, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Mrs Christy Uba, also said that the scheme would continue to tighten every loose end to enhance its security in the cyberspace.
He reminded the participants of the sensitive nature of their schedule and the need not to only uphold the trust reposed in them, but to always strive to be above board in the discharge of their duties.
He added that the scheme would not tolerate multiple registration, attempts to fraudulently enlist non-graduates for service, strange relocations or postings and other manipulations on the NYSC Integrated System.
“Management is seriously concerned about this development and has set up a committee to investigate these infractions with a view to further safeguarding the credibility and integrity of our data.
“I therefore enjoin you to play your part in our efforts to nip the problems in the bud,” he said.
The Director, Corps Mobilisation Department, Mrs Victoria Ango, commended the deployment and relocation officers for their services, adding that they needed more requisite knowledge to achieve excellent performances.
She said that the workshop was expected to refresh the participants and create an avenue to inspire dedicated staff to maximise their potentials.
Ango added that the workshop would also be used to harmonise the efforts of deployment and relocation officers and consolidate on the gains already made in standardising the scheme’s operations in the mobilisation process.
Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, the Executive Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC) has advised trainees on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to be ready to contribute their quota towards the success of 2023 digital census.
Kwarra gave the advice while declaring open 10-day Capacity Building Training for ICT department of the commission in Ado, Nasarawa.
He said the training was imperative given the shift from the manual processing of data as applied in previous census to digital census.
“This is an innovation and a shift from the manual process that we normally used in previous censuses.
“This exercise involves many advanced technological equipment both in hardware and software which we have already acquired and still acquiring but not totally familiar with,” he said.
According to the chairman, these include, cloud computing, cloud server, on-premises server, advanced cyber-attack threat and data security.
Kwarra said the staff needed to be acquainted with the technologies for the benefit of not only the department but the entire commission.
He described the training as a roadmap towards the success of the 2023 census by through the provision of technical pathways and operational framework for other departments to function optimally.
Mr Clifford Zira, Federal Commissioner for Adamawa and Chairman ICT Committee, said the essence of the workshop was to equip participants with modern technological knowledge to efficiently manage data.
Zira, who urged the participants to take advantage of the opportunity, expressed the determination of the commission to conduct a digitally accurate and acceptable census.