Notwithstanding improved access to foreign exchange for importation of raw materials, operators in the real sector have been urged to further explore local sourcing to mitigate the impact of forex on their businesses in 2017.
Chairman, NASCO Group, Mr. Attia Nasreddin said this in a meeting with Association of SMEs in his office when the latter paid him a visit in his office in Jos.
Nasreddin said, “rather than build on the one-time burgeoning base of agricultural production and manufacturing we had, we invested less in power, infrastructure, education, and health. As our schools began to dilapidate and teachers went on incessant strikes, we sent our children overseas even for primary school education. As doctors preferred to practice in the U.S and UK and hospitals lacked even hand gloves, we embarked on a medical exodus abroad even for basic diagnosis.
“As our manufacturing companies started closing especially for lack of power, we gladly substituted them with seemingly cheap imports while inadvertently exporting jobs and importing poverty to our country.
“What then can we do to remedy this situation? Is it our inflexible destiny or collective decision to rely so much on other countries for her basic needs? What kind of future do we really want as a people? I do not think that one policy decision from any arm or agency of government can answer all these questions”, he added.
Chairman NASCO, Mr. Nasreddin explained that the manufacturing sector is passing through difficult times and would require manufacturers to be creative to remain in business, while seeking incentives from the Federal Government to encourage local production.
He said the resource based industrialisation policy which involves the utilization of the nation’s abundant natural resources in producing products that the country needs would not come without a cost, urging manufacturers to retool existing technologies and production processes.
He pointed out that government has a lot to do to make the new orientation of a resource-based industrialisation policy successful, advising that government should create attractive incentives for investors who would engage in the processing of the abundant agricultural and mineral resources from primary produce to secondary or intermediate products.
“This would go a long way in attracting potential and current manufacturers into the use of local raw material inputs. In the meantime, government has to look for viable options of making forex available for manufacturers as we must remain in production,” he added.
Speaking earlier, chairman of the SMEs Association, Dung Chollom said they were in Mr. Nasreddin’s office to commend NASCO for its local content policy of using entirely locally sourced materials for production and to learn whatever strategies that could help members of the Association follow after NASCO’s footprints.