The manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy has been reflating in the last two years after it recorded a downturn occasioned by the economic recession that hit the country in 2016.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that in 2017, the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the country’s economy rose to 9.18 per cent and by December 2018, it hit 9.20 per cent, being the highest since 2016.
The sector grew from -2.85 per cent in third quarter of 2017 to 2.35 per cent as at the last quarter of 2017.
This expansion in the manufacturing sector has been driven by an economic blueprint, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), released by the Federal Government in the first quarter of 2017 to build on the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) which was developed for the 2016 budget.
SIP aimed to restore economic growth, build a globally competitive economy and invest in Nigeria by driving social inclusion, job creation, youth empowerment and improved human capital.
Ahead of the launch of the ERGP, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechwuku Enelamah, said there was need for a paradigm shift in the economic management of the country to expand both the trade and industrial sectors. The shifts expected were encapsulated in the ERGP.
The major achievement of the trade ministry in the first tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari was the reflation of trade and industrial sectors through implementation of the ERGP.
From the onset, the ministry developed three core pillars and five fundamental enablers to cause the needed expansion: implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and the digitalization of the country’s economy.
On the other hand, the enablers are the establishment of an Enabling Business Environment (EBE); development of Special Economic Zones (SEZ); establishment of a Free Trade Agreement; attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs); and institutionalising the Structure Reform and Agenda (SRA).
The creation of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) aimed at removing constraints and bottlenecks in doing businesses in Nigeria contributed in the reversal of the downturns.
The council, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with Dr Enelamah as vice chairman, identified certain areas for reforms, including the entry and exit of natural persons into Nigeria and ease of export.
These reforms yielded results such as improved World Bank’s Ease-of-Doing Business ranking and improved investors’ confidence.
The World Bank ranked Nigeria as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world under the present administration.
Improvements recorded were aided by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) which started the process of speedy registration of companies through online platform and the external hosting of the Company Registration Portal (CRP) to enable seamless registration process.
This helped eliminate the manual submission of documents for new incorporation in all states’ offices, reduction in stamping time and consolidation into one all forms needed for the application.
This has saved time and money while the creation of public search window in the commission’s website makes basic registration information available to members of the public at no cost.
There was massive campaign for patronise of Made-in-Nigeria products to reduce imports and save foreign exchange, including developing local industries.
During the launch of the South West campaign on Made-in-Nigeria products in Lagos, the Trade Minister of State, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, said patronising locally manufactured products would conserve foreign exchange and boost business for Nigerian companies so they can employ more people and earn revenue.
The strategy was to import that which is absolutely necessary for production purposes and export only finished value-added products.
A committee was constituted to handle monitoring, evaluation and reporting on the level of compliance by MDAs with the Executive Order 003 on the Ease of Doing Business and to support local content in Public-Private Partnership by the Federal Government.
There was also a shift from the oil to non-oil sector with the aim of diversifying the economy. This yielded result as the non-oil sector contributed 92.94 per cent to real GDP in the fourth quarter of 2018, higher than the 92.65 per cent seen in Q4 2017.
For 2018, non-oil sector contribution to economy was recorded at 91.40 per cent against 91.33 per cent in recorded in 2017.
Growth in non-oil sector cannot be divorced from the Industrial Revolution Plan reinvigorated with the establishment of the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council mandated to deliver the goals of the ERGP and NIRP by assisting government in formulating policies and strategies for accelerating the country’s industrialisation programme.
Policies were drafted to increase local production of tomato required for fresh fruit consumption and processing, increasing local production of tomato concentrate and reducing post-harvest losses.
Domestic tomato processors have rolled out plans to boost processing capacity.
Details obtained from the trade ministry show that owners of moribund plants are in the process of reactivating their facilities and new investors, both local and foreign have indicated interest in setting up tomato processing plants in the country.
The Bank of Industry (BoI) has commenced the training of entrepreneurs on other ways of tomato processing in line with the government’s new policy on boosting tomato production.
Meanwhile, the National Council on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (NCMEs), inaugurated in April 2017, has initiated and implemented the One-Local-Government, One-Product (OLGOP) programme which is expected to generate over 4,900 new jobs.
The council has established three common facilities to help revamp SMEs in Nigeria: leather cluster in Sokoto; shoe making cluster in Aba; and Shea butter processing cluster in Minna.