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Govt must prioritise industrial development to boost economy – Aganga

Aganga| File photo

‘In the modern global economy, industrial development is not luck, it is a nation’s choice’

By Valentine Amanze

Nigeria’s former Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Hon Olusegun Aganga, has advised the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government to boost the nation’s economy by focusing on industry sector development that is backed up with plans, policies and funds.

Aganga, who didn’t pay much attention to the real sector development as a minister, gave the advice at the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria’s (MAN) 51st Annual General Meeting and third Adeola Odutola Lecture /Presidential Luncheon in Lagos on Thursday.

Butressing his advocacy at the event titled, “Setting the Agenda for Competitive Manufacturing under the AfCFTA: What Nigeria needs to do, Aganga said that industry sector was capable of multiplying the national wealth, and create jobs.

He also said that a proper attention to the industrial sector was critical for exchange rate and balance of payment management, stressing that such would also make the Naira stronger.

He assured: “Every Naira, no matter how large that is spent on strategic industrial sector can be easily recovered and will deliver tremendous benefits to the economy and the nation.”

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Aganga also advised the government to address historical, economic, infrastructural, and political challenges that were crucial for increasing intra-African trade to levels comparable to intra-Asia and intra-European trade.

Agangu further disclosed that embracing competitive manufacturing, under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was crucial for Nigeria’s economic growth and integration into the global marketplace.

“Nigeria may not be able to compete with China now, but by investing in infrastructure, innovation, skilled labour, while addressing trade barriers, Nigeria can certainly position itself as the manufacturing hub in Africa.

“The AFCFTA is a landmark agreement that opens up a plethora of opportunities for intra-African trade and economic collaboration.

“Manufacturing plays a central role in the realisation of this agenda and in the modern global economy, industrial development is not luck, it is a nation’s choice.

“In today’s world, the fierce global competition has reduced the likelihood of the spontaneous development of next industry.

“Countries must therefore have an intentional, precise, and intense approach to nurturing and expanding industrial activities.

“This is even more paramount for a country like Nigeria, starting from a relatively low manufacturing base,” he said.

In his remarks, President, MAN, Otunba Francis Meshioye, acknowledged President Tinubu’s positive policy decisions and the redirection of the economy starting from his first day in office.

He noted that the journey of the association over past five decades had been that of grow innovation, and resilience, amid undeniably tough challenges.

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