Nigeria lost N153 billion to low capacity utilisation in the paper sector between 2006 and 2009 says Prof. Peter Onwualu,
Director-General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC).
Onwualu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja that the figure was the outcome of the review carried out on the 10 industrial sectors of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
He said that a technical committee was inaugurated in 2010 to carry out the studies in line with the RMRDC’s mandate to raw materials availability in the country from time to time.
He said that the aim of the study was to generate data relating to the industrial sector so that such data could be relevant in decision-making to revive ailing sectors.
According to him, ``In pulp, paper and paper products, printing and publishing sector for example, capacity utilisation between 2006 and 2009 was just four per cent.
``Revenue loss for non-production in the sector within the period under review was given as N30.25 billion for industrial paper, N75 billion for newsprint: N48 billion for bond paper.
``During this period, the wood and wood products sector also recorded low capacity utilisation: 26.5 per cent was recorded in the sawmill sub-sector, 15 per cent in plywood, 14 per cent in particle board and six per cent in match sub-sector,”
Onwualu listed other sectors that lost money to low capacity utilisation as the textiles, garment, leather and leather products which dropped from a 50 per cent capacity to just 20 per cent and the cement sub-sector with 59 per cent capacity.
He decried the closure of the two major tyre companies in Nigeria, Michelin and Dunlop, which has led to a mere 20 per cent utilisation of the about 45,000 metric tonnes of rubber being produced in the country annually.
He attributed the low capacity utilisation to unfair competition from imported goods, infrastructural challenges, inadequate funding and over-dependence on foreign raw materials due to near absence of local raw materials among others.
Onwualu stressed the need to encourage long-term investments in import substitution and setting up of industries for the conversion of the nation’s natural resources to raw materials.
Onwualu said, ``This, if implemented very well has the potential of saving over N250 billion annually and creating over five million industry related jobs within the economy.’’ (NAN)