Appraising Jonathan's National Industrial Revolution Plan
By Sylvester Okoro
Promoting the success of any government in power is a hazardous occupation for me; but, the revolution going on in the manufacturing sector since the inception of the present administration has made me more comfortable in the occupation of mouthing the success of the administration in this regard. Since the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan developed and launched the National Industrial Revolution Plan, the hitherto comatose manufacturing sector has been given a new lease of life as the sector is alive again.
Tucked in the remote area of Nnewi, on the outskirt of Anambra State, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Plant only existed before now in the minds of the locals who would dream that one day the product of the company will be used by Nigerians. That dream of the locals came to fruition with the industrial revolution embarked upon by the Jonathan's administration. Cars of various shapes and sizes manufactured by Innoson have since dotted the Nigerian roads.
And, as a sure way of encouraging the company, President Jonathan has formulated a policy which made it mandatory for government agencies and parastatals to patronize the cars manufactured by Innoson group as their official cars. The policy has come into effect as most of the ministries now purchase the vehicles manufactured by the Innoson as the official cars for top officials of the ministries.
The effect that this singular policy has on the economy is too profound to hastily appreciate; with the patronage coming from government and individuals alike, Innoson group has no choice but to engage more hands in the manufacturing of the cars. This, in essence, will boost employment in our land; the cash flight due to importation of fairly used cars into the country would be a thing of the past and, more importantly, other companies which supply raw materials for the company will thrive in business and engage more hands. Is this not amazing?
If you are carried away by the achievements of the Innoson group, then hold your breath until you get to hear about the Peugeot Assembling Plant located in Kaduna in the 80s; the company was moribund many years ago. The industrial revolution embarked upon by the Jonathan administration has not only given life to the moribund company as the company has concluded plans to start assembling Peugeot cars in the country. The import of this is that employment would be created again by this company.
Many other foreign motor companies, which before now imported cars to the country, have concluded plans to build assembly plants in the country. This will reduce the rate of importation of cars into the country. Stallion group that is reputed for the importation of Honda cars into the country will now build a plant where all ranges of Honda cars will be assembled. Apart from the Stallion group, Kewalram, another company which specalises in the importation of cars, has concluded plan to build plant to assemble the brand of cars (Mitsubishi) they import into the country.
Motor manufacturing is not the only subsector of the manufacturing that is reaping the fruit of the industrial revolution embarked upon by the Jonathan's administration. Federal Government has developed a Sugar master plan to provide roadmap for 100 per cent local production of sugar. Many manufacturers have keyed into the policy and the result is massive sugar production being witnessed in the country.
In the same vein, due largely to the industrial revolution, Nigeria is now a net exporter of cement. Nigeria has moved from producing 2 million metric tonnes in 2002 to a capacity of 28.5 million metric tones at the moment. It is on record that with no permit issued in 2012 for cement importation, savings of over N200 billion were made. This feat remains the first in the history of this country.
The Onne Oil and Gas Free zone has been transformed with $6 billion invested leading to the attraction of 150 companies into the zone with 30,000 jobs created as at the time of this write up. Foreign investment in the manufacturing sector is booming as shown by the number of foreign companies flooding the country to establish their manufacturing plants. For instance, Indorama's $1.2 billion fertilizer at Onne; Procter &Gamble's $250 million consumer goods plant in Ogun State and SAB Miller's $100 million brewery at Onitsha are significant indicators. There are many others too numerous to mention which have contributed immensely to the reduction of the unemployment problem in the country.
The administration has equally come with legal support for the manufacturing companies based in the country so that they will not have undue disadvantage from their competitors based elsewhere. That is why the administration of Jonathan has negotiated a strong Common External Tariff, GET, agreement with ECOWAS partners which would enable the country to protect its strategic industries where necessary.
Some of the manufacturers are of the opinion that with the industrial revolution roadmap the country is on the path of greatness but something must be on the ground to sustain the move because that is the only way to belong to the comity of developed countries. “I think this is the first time that Nigeria would be allowed to take their own destiny into their hands. I am into manufacturing and I can tell you that since the inception of this administration I have engaged more hands because there is enabling environment to operate. Jonathan has done well and I think we should support him for second term”, advised Romanus Ani, a local manufacturer.
Samson Ngene, who is into juice manufacturing, believes that unlike before it is no more tears for manufacturers as the environment is conducive for them in the manufacturing sector. Whichever divide you might find yourself, there is no doubt that the administration of Jonathan has performed wonders and is still working towards repositioning the economy.
Okoro sent this piece from Enugu