Chairman of the National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) in Akwa Ibom, Dr Andrew Uwanta, has called on the state government to integrate small scale industrialists into the empowerment plans of the state government even as he bemoaned their continued neglect by successive governments
He has also called for industrial clusters to help incubate and reduce the cost of manufacturing or processing for such categories of industrialists.
Uwanta told newsmen in Uyo that dearth of access to funds occasioned by neglect of the sector by successive governments in the state has remained the major impediment to industrial growth of the state.
He maintained that small scale industrialists remained the catalyst to economic emancipation and increased employment in any society regretting that most administration since the state creation of the state has not done anything meaningful to encourage the sector.
“The problem here too is that people and even some government has failed to different NASSI from traders. NASSI is made up of small scale manufacturers and is well structured in Akwa Ibom for government to deal with. It is unfortunate that successive governments in the state has failed to deal meaningfully with us and that accounts for why the state has continued to remain a civil service state.
“Except for ex-governor Victor Attah, most administrations since the state was created have done nothing meaningful to encourage the small scale industrialists. Attah’s experiment could have been the catalyst needed to revamp of the sector but the funds were not managed well and some of the beneficiaries did not refund the funds given them to enable others get too.
“The present government is concentrating with medium and large scale industries involving big time investors and huge funding but I want them to also remember the small scale industrialists because they remained the catalyst to industrialisation of the state.
“They have the capacity to create millions of employment opportunities and at the same time provide meaningful income to millions of people in the state. What they need is access to funding with a single digit interest rate and maybe industrial clusters where access to power and other facilities will be cheap and you will be surprised at the impact they could create in the economy of the state.” Uwanta explained.