Nigeria's Industrial Revolution Plan – Vanguard
Revolution evokes images of forceful change with dire consequences for those who resist it. If we are to see the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, NIRP, which was launched last week in that light, we should be applauding the arrival of a programme that could change Nigeria from a net importer of most goods to a manufacturing nation that could at least meet some of its domestic needs.
The NIRP holds promises in this regard. It is meant to create a broad platform for the domestic industrial sector by integrating various sources of ideas, resources and providing the linkages among micro, small and medium enterprises to generate jobs.
According to President Goodluck Jonathan, who at the same event also launched the National Enterprise Development Programme, NEDEP, the two policies, 'will accelerate inclusive growth and job creation and save the drain on our reserve caused by importing what we can produce locally.
'The Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, the National Enterprise Development Programme will also impress impetus for our National Transformation Agenda by ushering in a new era of value addition, enterprise development and industrialisation.'
In launching what he called, 'the most ambitious industrialisation programme ever pursued in Nigeria', the President listed the priority areas as food and agricultural products processing, metals, solid mineral processing, and construction. The aim is to leverage comparative advantage in these areas to attain number one status in Africa and top ten ranking globally.
The teeming population of unemployed youth cannot wait to see the implementation of the programme. Industrialisation at the level of a revolution can make a lot of difference in the economy and gently steer it away from the vicious grip that revenue from oil and gas has on it.
Mass industrialisation is desirable. It would generate demands for new skills, entrepreneurship, training and business development services to meet the needs of industries. Both programmes would face challenges of competing for relevance as economies are globalising rapidly. Manufacturers must have markets abroad where issues of quality and timely delivery of orders are critical to success.
Government should also deal with domestic factors that raise the cost of manufacturing which results in Nigerian goods not being competitive. One of those factors is epileptic electricity supply and high costs of alternative energy. The others are transport infrastructure to serve the demands of a modern industrial revolution, affordable access to finances and security.
The President alluded to efforts at addressing them, but it would soon be seen if the revolution can result in other ways of tackling these challenges. The NIRP and NEDEP are laudable programmes. If they are implemented with the zeal and passion that drive revolutions, they would change Nigeria.