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NESG outlines industrial policy, sectoral reforms for economic growth

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For economic growth, crucial actions by the federal and state governments to develop industrial policies and sectoral plans for identified priority areas, commitment to implementation of existing plans and addressing challenges of insecurity, among others are solutions proffered by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).

In its 2021 Macroeconomic Outlook report, titled ‘Sectoral Reforms and Investments in Nigeria: A focus on the Manufacturing Sector’, the NESG identified the manufacturing sector as one of six sectors that have the potential to create jobs and reduce poverty in Nigeria, adding that for the sector to grow, the private investment would play a major role.

The report stated that actual investments in manufacturing are realised when there is an intersection of market opportunities and government support.

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It stated that Nigeria’s reliance on imports, its large market and the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, present a huge opportunity for investment in the manufacturing sector, especially in areas such as agro-processing and light manufacturing.

It noted that Nigeria has numerous favourable conditions for investment, especially in its manufacturing sector like large arable land, strategic location in Africa and large market and opportunities presented by the AfCFTA.

It stated that developing Nigeria’s manufacturing sector is the solution to Nigeria’s foreign exchange problems as the sector has the potential to create jobs and lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty if the government addresses the current challenges.

With the several initiatives and interventions in the manufacturing sector, which ranged from import restrictions to the establishment of 43 export processing zones, in addition to Nigeria’s strategy for the AfCFTA, the report said the initiatives, and many more, would influence the performance of the manufacturing sector.

According to the outlook, it becomes imperative that there is synergy and consolidation of efforts from all government ministries, departments, and agencies involved in developing the sector.

Stressing that good sectoral planning must be accompanied by the effective implementation to ensure that Nigeria becomes a prosperous nation in the near future, it added: “The country’s current situation requires urgent intervention by the government to develop the industrial sector in Nigeria. The cost of not implementing crucial reforms to reposition the sector for competitiveness is evident in the weak state of the sector and Nigeria’s high unemployment and poverty rates.”

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