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‘Import substitution, value addition will aid forex savings, capacity utilisation’


Minister of trade and nvestment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

Minister of trade and nvestment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, has stated that investment in Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) card production as well as other commodities that the country has capacity to produce, would go a long way ‎to save Nigeria’s foreign exchange. This will also improve capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector.

The Minister, Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, during the commissioning of Secure ID’s ‎new SIM card manufacturing line, explained that the company is an intersection of three key sectors that is vital for development effort. He also commended the firm for adding value to the nation’s resource endowments through the production of the sim cards.

Enelamah said the fact that the company is also doing export is commendable, maintaining that with the current scarcity of foreign exchange in the country, companies such as Secure ID can help to earn foreign exchange for the country.

In his words, “‎I want to commend the company’s entrepreneurial vision, drive and zeal to make this investment and we need more of these companies. Nobody doubts the zeal of an average Nigerian, it is the environment and how challenging it can be that can often get in the way.

‎”This shows that these things can be done in Nigeria if we provide the right support and I want to assure you that we will continue to support you to produce more and more here locally. Both in terms of jobs, import substitution and the value added process. The fact that the company is also into export is commendable, because one of the biggest challenges we have as a country is the foreign exchange situation where our supply is limited and we plan to increase the supply through export,” he added.

He said the present administration is looking to partner with the private sector to realise its vision and goals for the country in areas of diversification, job creation and industrialisation.

He commended the Bank of Industry (BoI)‎ for its role in financing industrialisation,  reassuring the bank of its full support to assist in the nation’s quest to industrialise.

“We know financing is a major component of industrialisation and I can assure you that we are going to be backing the likes of BoI and other Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to have more of the resources they need to support manufacturing in the country,” he added.

The Acting Managing Director, BoI, Waheed Olagunju, said the bank does not only look at the financial viability of such projects, but focuses on the strategic nature, the potential development impact and multiplier effects before supporting development projects in the country.

“The facility we have commissioned today is the first of its kind in Africa, the production of sim cards that were hitherto being imported. That speaks to import substitution which means that we will be conserving foreign exchange by embarking on a project like this. In Africa, there are about 700 million SIM cards that are connected where they have been importing sim cards from outside the continent. This means we can also export sim cards to these African countries and generate foreign exchange.

“When this is done, the employees will earn to pay taxes to the government while the company pays more tax to the federal government.

These are the developmental impacts that we look at. Job creation, ability to conserve foreign exchange and also to earn foreign exchange,” he said.

‎The Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Secure ID, Mrs. Kofo Akinkugbe, said the investment was a vision that made the DFI to support the opportunities ahead, pointing out that the BoI has been extremely instrumental in its starting up.

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