The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment yesterday announced that it was working with leaders and members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) towards the harmonisation of challenges, concerns and interests to develop a blueprint document expected to guide the federal government in the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) which is designed to effectively reposition the nation’s industrial sector.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who made the statement at a meeting with private sector leaders in Lagos stressed that the blueprint that would emerge from the consultation with OPS leaders would be submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan to guide the implementation of the NIRP as it attempts to address the issues facing manufacturing in the country.
Aganga, at the meeting tagged: ‘Presidential Advisory Council on Industrialisation’, with major industrialists from various sectors in attendance, is expected to submit a proposal to the presidency on the most efficient way forward for the manufacturing industry.
“We have had a lot of meetings on this issue and industrialists have all made submissions about the issues affecting the industry. We have a 45-point paper to discuss and after our meeting, the council will be meeting with the president to advise him on the way forward to address issues affecting the sector.
“This is a standing council and they are advisers to the president on industrialisation. They represent different sectors in the industry. We have MAN, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) here represented,” he said.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Adviser to the President on Industry and Manufacturing, Chief Oba Otudeko, said the sector was still plagued by myriad of challenges and stated that as practitioners who have continued to invest in the productive sectors, they will continue to work with the government to promote a concrete Private Public Partnership (PPP) initiative.
“This is the anchor of the NIRP in championing the economic development that this administration has continued to promote,” he said.
The President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, who also spoke, commended the partnership, saying an initiative such as the presidential advisory council on industrialisation has never happened before, maintaining that businesses have been enhancing their investment in the country on account of this transparent relationship with government.
According to him, there is an urgent need to address issues affecting the industry, stating that manufacturers are kicking against waivers that have been given to various companies indiscriminately.
“We do not mind waivers that are sector specific but not individuals who will go out at night to get selfish waivers to destroy sectors of the economy.
“This is a great partnership between the private sector and the government because it has never happened before. Life is so easy for us and this is why we keep investing and hoping for other investors to come in and invest,” he said.
Dangote said: “Before now, you dare not go in front of a minister to condemn the issuance of waivers and policy somersault, but now, the minister himself is saying he is against policy somersault and is looking for ways to address issues bothering on policies.”
Aganga however decried the impact of the Ebola virus scourge on businesses and commended the federal government’s effort in trying to contain and control the virus.
“We looked at the implication of Ebola virus on businesses and what the private sector can do to support the government. The federal government has been commended for successfully containing and controlling the virus. So far, the cases we have are all linked to the index case who came from Liberia. So, it is not a general outbreak, “he said.
Earlier, Otudeko added that the industry had not been left out on the effect of the virus pointing out that it had its own fair share of impact on many businesses.
“As a group, we feel we should show our concern not only to support government but also to find a way to intervene and work with the government to lessen the burden and impact of the Ebola virus. Clearly, the business level has been suffering and visits to Nigeria have also been affected,” he added.