The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has lauded the presidency’s assurance that the 2014 budget will be dedicated towards improving the manufacturing sector, saying the step is a milestone that will put the country’s economy on its feet.
Reacting to the statement credited to the President while inaugurating the board of National Competitive Council of Nigeria (NCCN) in Abuja, NANTS President, Ken Ukaoha said the step will surely galvanise employment and wealth creation.
He said; “NANTS believes that Nigeria as a country has all it takes to become a world power and an investors’ destination. We further believe that industrialization is key and it does not require rocket science to turn Nigeria into the next industrial destination point in Africa.
“For us, the success or failure of an economy starts from the fiscal framework, and the 2014 budget and beyond can be used as that master key to unlock the nation’s fortunes, therefore Mr. President’s vision is in the right direction and must be supported.”
He said while the manufac-turing sector contributes between 20 percent and 40 percent of the GDP for emerging economies, its current contribution in Nigeria is less than five percent and shows a clear case of under-utilization and under performance.
“In accurate terms, the contribution of the sector has been dwindling, and of late staggered with fluctuations between 4 percent to 6 percent contribution to the nation’s GDP. The average manufacturing capacity utilization decreased from 47 per cent in 2009 to 45 per cent in 2010 and it is still taking a downward trend.
“In terms of employment generation, available information reveals that a total of over 800 manufacturing companies closed shop between 2009 and 2011 as a result of their inability to cope with the challenges posed by the harsh operating environment in Nigeria; and what this means is that there is a significant decline in employment ratio as a percentage of the total labour force in the formal sector of the nation’s economy,” he said.