The NIRP will, he promised, address perennial constraints such as poor infrastructure, epileptic power supply and the high cost of borrowing that have plagued manufacturing in the country, and it will promote ‘made in Nigeria goods’ both domestically and abroad.
The President also launched the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP), which will focus on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, at the occasion. NEDEP will strive to enhance the competitiveness of MSMEs, which are often regarded as the bedrock for industrialisation. According to a 2010 survey by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) the country has 17m MSMEs, employing over 32m people. Government is also supporting at least one product in all 774 local governments in the country based on each local government’s area of competitive advantage. In addition, it wants to create industrial parks in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This will enhance the competitiveness of the economy in the long run.
Jonathan added: “The integrated approach being pursued under NIRP and NEDEP allows for better coordination, synergy, effectiveness and more efficient utilisation of resources, and will positively transform the Nigerian economy.
“With the diligent implementation of revolutionary programmes like the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan and the National Enterprise Development Programme, we can truly make Nigeria the giant of Africa.”
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said the NIRP would, in the long run, turn Nigeria into a net exporter of 15 major products. Aganga, who has been driving a silent industrial revolution in the country, said the Ministry would partner all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the NIRP is successfully implemented.
He added: “Nigeria must diversify, and produce what we consume as a country. The days of exporting raw materials and jobs to other markets must come to an end.”
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and other key stakeholders in the economy have endorsed the new policy. They believe it will reverse the current trend of de-industrialisation and place Nigeria on a new path of sustainable growth. However, they want government to put in place legislation that will ensure full implementation of the NIRP.