2015 Polls: Torrent of promises for manufacturing sector
Ayodele Samuel writes on the various political promise made to stakeholders in the manufacturing sectors, as politicians scramble for votes.
Nigeria's Manufacturing sector has been facing hard times since the return of democratic rule in 1999.
Faced with various challenges, the sector has been neglect to rot as various companies relocates to neighboring counties due to high cost of production and unconducive business environment.
At every election years, members of the organized private sectors OPS becomes the toasts of politicians makes
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), told OPS members at a meeting in Lagos that his government would effectively grow the nation's economy.
This according to the former head of state is to ensure that majority of the people feel its impact, thereby positively addressing their standard of living on a sustainable basis.
Specifically, he stressed that if voted into power, his administration would galvanise the economy to enhance productivity through improved electricity generation, transmission, and supply; empowerment of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs); and enthronement of a regime of favourable investment climate.
Essentially, Buhari said job creation would be accorded its deserved priority, to ensure that the productive segment of the populace is positively challenged through a well-designed manpower training, development and utilisation programme.
According to him, the policies for implementing his administration's commitments would be guided "as practical as it is possible to do so" by the highest consideration of how they create jobs in the country.
To create jobs for the textile and shoemaking industries, Buhari said equipping and resourcing the nation's security personnel would not be limited to the provision of arms alone, but would include uniforms, boots and other accouterments,
He said his administration would seriously commit itself to power supply, as a means of quickly galvanising the economy back to productivity.
Although the APC supports privatisation of power utilities, Buhari said the party believes that privatisation must go further to include transmission of power.
He expressed regrets that nothing much had been achieved beyond the signing and handing over of the power assets, pointing out that after the ceremonies, which, according to him, took place a few years back, the real work of generation, transmission and distribution of power had not been done.
"The reason why the success seems elusive is that apart from the signing ceremony and handover of the power assets, the hard work to connect the various parts of the power chain, gas supply, transformer installation of substations, has not been done," he said.
Noting that based on a study carried out by the APC, the nation would need no less than 200,000 trained personnel to support the initiative to provide power and light up Nigeria, Buhari said apart from the inherent direct employment that it would give, the reduction in cost of production, and the savings from self-generation by Nigerians would reduce the burden on their disposable income.
To Buhari, such savings engendered by reliable power supply would help the average Nigerian spend his or her money on other basic necessities of life and reduce poverty.
"We will support this initiative because a local refinery means many things, including availability of jobs locally at a Nigerian refinery instead of a refinery abroad, local fuel supply and national security, reduced importation, less demand for foreign exchange and strengthening of the naira," he said.
"Road construction alone will unlock a value chain of opportunities in relevant industries for construction companies, builders, engineers, architects, quarry operators, material suppliers," he said.
"The successful opening up of Nigeria by the construction of new roads and highways will revive road transportation; truck and tyre manufacturing; engine oil and brake pad production on one hand and also create a demand for jobs for mechanics, drivers and those engaged in transport support businesses."
He reiterated that his administration would give priority to agriculture, mining and infrastructure, to provide jobs for the nation's teeming youths.
He said for the fact that majority of the youths who, he said, constitute 40 per cent of the population, are jobless is a dangerous situation.
Buhari promised that an APC government would set up industries to produce tomato puree in the country and stop its importation, adding that he would also set up facilities to preserve the tomatoes for transportation to markets across the country.
"I was shocked to hear how much was being spent in importing tomato puree, even as I observed that while driving from Kaduna to Kano, a large quantity of tomatoes wasting while awaiting being harvested and transported to markets across the country," he said.
He said those issues were interconnected with mining, agriculture, infrastructure and job creation, in the sense that not much could be achieved without security and eradication of corruption.
Nigeria, Buhari noted, is too vulnerable, considering that at this moment, the country has to import fuel to move her planes, her tanks and her men, adding, "You can see that we also have to import arms. We are vulnerable because our troops also depend on imported food."
For President Goodluck Jonathan, showing off his achievement he felt would give him OPS members votes.
Jonathan also at a meeting with sector stakeholder said his administration provided no fewer that 1.4 million jobs annually in the last three years to close the unemployment gap and had empowered many in the informal sector, such as the Nollywood.
The president said that if returned in 2015 Nigeria would be totally transform through the on-going diversification in various sectors.
Jonathan added that his administration "has partnered with the private sector and critical stakeholders to move Nigeria to the next stage," which according to him, justified the drive of his administration "to create the enabling environment and build an army of young entrepreneurs though the You Win programme."
His finance minster Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the transformation agenda of the administration "is a diversification agenda''.
She said that Nigeria remained the largest economy in Africa which was achieved by the Jonathan administration.
She said agriculture, housing and other economic activities had been diversified to generate higher income than oil adding that the focus now was to diversify the income sector.
She said the rail transportation had been revived successfully and attempts were being made to open all rail corridors in the country for easy haulage of goods and services.
Despite all these OPS member are anxious to see improvement in the manufacturing sector, as Nigerians go to the polls.