The federal government has attracted over N3.7trillion through the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), from its 51 projects through Public-Private Partnerships.
Speaking in Lagos, on weekend, the minister of industry, trade and investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said that government leveraged on comparative advantage and factor endowments in the commitment to making Nigeria competitive for local production and thereby increasing the contribution of manufacturing to GDP.
Enelamah noted that the inauguration of the National Council on Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (NCMES) to increase the nation’s focus on MSMES and boost their development has increased access to finance by providing capital for both start-ups and expansion.
“It is important to point out that through PEBEC’s push and the collaboration with the national assembly, two important laws to ease access to credit were passed last year. The World Bank funded – Growth and Employment (GEM) Project is focused on supporting businesses in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), Agro-processing, Entertainment, Tourism and Construction. Achievements of the project include more than 89,000 small and medium enterprises registered on the BIG portal. Also over 900 Nigerian MSMEs have benefited from grants to implement their business plans; at least 40 local consulting firms trained to deliver technical services to MSMEs.”
“It is pertinent to note that large amounts of GEM’s intervention that are aimed at creating jobs are not yet matured; therefore more jobs are expected to be created as this investment/intervention begins to yield results. “Arrangements are being made with the World Bank for the expansion of the project,” he said.
In his remark, president of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Babatunde Ruwase said ,“We need a strong economy to guarantee security and ease social tension. We therefore should continually emphasize the value of entrepreneurship, enterprise, hard work, professionalism, excellence and integrity inn our economic environment. These values are essential for a sustainable wealth creation process, which are economy and entrepreneur.
“It is the entrepreneur that makes things happen in an economy. They are the drivers of the economy and the creators of wealth. An economy can only be as robust as its entrepreneur. Therefore if we must make progress in this economy, our private sector would have to play a major role. The public sector would also have to create the enabling environment.
“The way forward for our economy is to do everything possible to encourage entrepreneurs and professional. This is the way to go if we must diversify our economy, create more jobs, reduce unemployment, minimise criminality and above all, advance the welfare of our people.”
The director-general, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Sir. Joseph Ari, said the need for industrial transformation of Nigeria cannot be overemphasized, adding that United Nation’s General Assembly identified the need for industrialisation of African countries which include Nigeria and proclaimed 2016 – 2025 an industrial decade for Africa.
Ari said,“For Nigeria to attain this level the industrial transformation of Nigeria should be the concern of all. Our efforts should be geared towards bridging all gaps identified with regards to industrialisation. The findings of the report further corroborated our in-house skills gaps surveys, which equally showed that despite rising unemployment, numerous vacancies still existed in several sectors of the national economy that could not be filled by Nigerians because of the absence of the requisite skills. In view of these gaps and vacancies, the ITF management came up with a list of implementable programmes for year 2018.
“Over 13,000 Nigerians which included 11,100 youths are been trained under the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), 360 women under Women Skills Empowerment Programme. Also 75 youths on air-conditioning and refrigeration, 50 youths on designing and garment making.
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