President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the key to Nigeria’s quest for economic diversification and survival lies in agriculture and the manufacturing sector.
According to him, a strong manufacturing sector will create more jobs and wealth for people and it will also usher in sustainable economic prosperity.
Buhari made this comment yesterday in Abuja at the 44th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). with the theme, ‘Diversifying the Nigerian Economy: the Role of Government in Manufacturing.’
He also expressed appreciation to the president and the members of MAN for their immense contributions and unwavering commitment to the socio-economic development of Nigeria over the years.
Buhari noted that Nigeria owed MAN a debt of gratitude for their show of commitment, demonstrated by their respective investments in Nigeria’s economy despite daunting challenges.
He said this administration was convinced that the key to the nation’s quest for economic diversification and survival lies in agriculture and the manufacturing sector. A strong manufacturing sector will create more jobs and wealth for our people.
“It will usher in sustainable economic prosperity because we will produce what we consume as a nation and generate foreign exchange by exporting any surplus.
“The manufacturing sector is well positioned to be a major driver of Nigeria’s economic growth because of our immense natural resources and the entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians.”
Buhari stated that government was therefore focused on implementing necessary policies and strategies aimed at unleashing the full potential of manufacturing in Nigeria.
“We will rely heavily on your ideas and inputs at all stages of formulation and implementation of new industrial policies. For our part, we will remove bottlenecks and create a more business friendly environment,” he added.
Buhari remarked that his administration remained committed to partnering with MAN in the task of charting a brighter future for the country as government was very appreciative of their contributions in formulating national economic policies.
According to him, the theme, ‘Diversifying the Nigerian Economy: the Role of Government in Manufacturing,’ is quite apt as it is coming at a time when the nation is faced with the urgent need to diversify the economy in the light of the dwindling price of crude oil in the global market.
The president explained that the dramatic fall in crude oil and other commodity prices has had a serious negative impact on world economies, especially countries like Nigeria which depended on one commodity for its export earnings.
Furthermore, Buhari said the administration’s strategic plan to boost manufacturing activities in the country was supported by the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprises Development Programme (NEDEP). These programmes, according to him, present a clear roadmap towards an industrialised Nigerian economy.
“We are working on improving the patronage of locally made goods, bridging the gap between skills required by industry and those provided by our educational institutions and access to finance for our Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs)
“We recognise that MAN and the other Organised Private Sector (OPS) groups are our key stakeholders in this journey and we will continue our engagement with you.
The president urged MAN to consider national interest, so that the outcome of their deliberations will be to the benefit of Nigerians workers and promoters alike and said he is looking forward to receiving a communiqué of the deliberations from this meeting.
“As events unfold in the coming months, many of you will be called upon to play critical roles in the implementation of this administration’s agenda. I implore you to avail us your wealth of experience so that together we can uplift our nation’s economy and social well-being.”