On February 4, President Goodluck Jonathan unveiled the new Board of the National Competitive Council of Nigeria (NCCN), whose objective will be to conceptualize policy decisions that will give the West African nation an edge on global indices while, at the same time, creating employment through the manufacturing sector.
NCCN has, among its board members, the Federal Minister Olusegun Aganga of the Ministry of Trade & Investment, who will help brainstorm with the rest of the 18 members to generate ideal policies that will motivate locals and expatriates to invest in manufacturing.
President Jonathan has tagged the Council to the realization of the above par, saying that he will give his all to ensure that the 2013-14 budgets lean heavily on the manufacturing side, with hints of extending the goals a year longer should the ideals be unrealized by that target date.
“Nigerian budget will be geared towards encouraging manufacturing sector in this country,” were the President’s remarks.
Manufacturing in Nigeria
The Federal government of Nigeria has, since the discovery of oil in the southern eastern parts of the country last century, focused on forging indigenous control of major sectors, albeit international companies still possess the lion’s share.
In manufacturing, however, the state has many strategic interests that it owns either directly or through shares majority.
Since foreign investors gave way to government pressure and helped local people to develop the manufacturing sector on their own, now the public has trustee-level access to textile, cement and tobacco industries. The large manufacturing premises, however, still remain under control of the capable naturalized citizens.
Various regimes have cumulatively increased their grip on industries that demand huge capital investment fueled by revenue from oil and mining. These include the steel factory in Aladja and the Oku Iboku’s paper mill.
The major names for consumer products in the manufacturing sector include multinationals like British American Tobacco and Cadburys. Other international interests include Unilever, Tura and Nestle, all PLCs.
The above data reflects the earnestness of Goodluck Jonathan’s request for the board to provide a very early picture of Nigeria’s competitive position, as the country seeks to balance population issues with development agenda privy to the brave new 21st century.
Indeed, the NCCN will be spot on the job via conceptual and practical programs by coordinating with external players through workshops that are local-based, and thus gauge all areas that are primary to the nation’s gaining a competitive edge.
This comes just a few days after the American Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal released this year’s Index of Economic Freedom, which gauges the degree of institutional freedom in a country. Nigeria did not make it to the top seven, with the latter position going to the Anglophone neighbor, Ghana.