‘Weak manufacturing sector should cause leaders to worry’
…The Guardian rewards manufacturers’ resilience at awards
Though the nation prides itself as an oil rich country, its leaders, both present and aspiring, need to be worried if the manufacturing sector is weak or non-existent.
This was the position of the Publisher and Chairman of The Guardian Newspaper, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, at the maiden edition of The Guardian Manufacturing Excellence Awards in Lagos, yesterday.
According to her, despite being an oil rich nation, jobs cannot be created neither can the value of the currency be improved without manufacturing.
Noting that manufacturing has been the key to prosperity of many industrialised nations, she urged industry players to look beyond the environmental and operational challenges they encounter and play the game on the basis of agility, responsiveness and innovation.
“It is well known that in our society, manufacturing poses a huge challenge because of near absence of critical infrastructure that should ease the primary sector. What is worse, electricity is not even available for domestic use not alone for industrial undertaking”, she said.
She explained that this was one of the reasons why those that are manufacturing in this harsh environment deserve to be honoured.
“You would have noticed that in our 34 years of publishing, we have never given any awards beyond the annual person of the year’s, which, in any case, is a symbolic recognition of some significant contributions or persons or agencies or institutions in the course of the year. We would like to break this protocol for the most critical sector of the economy that we hardly give prominence in our reporting and analyses of national issues”, she added.
Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of state for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, explained that the Federal Government is working hard to give necessary support needed by the private sector to operate effectively.
She added that the manufacturing sector is key to the development of the country.
The awards, planned in collaboration with African Development Studies Centre (Inc.), hope to spur growth & development and also create new economic opportunities for citizens.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian economy plunged into a recession in 2016 that persisted for six consecutive quarters amidst the already existing challenges of perennial power outages; infrastructure deficit and foreign exchange scarcity.
“The challenges in the 2016 financial year, seriously affected the operational existence of many of the nation’s large, medium and small manufacturing companies.
“Despite these, some sector players were still able to spot opportunities and maintain excellence by putting in more effort and resources to further engage the dynamic Nigerian market, address competition, adopt cost saving measures and step-up their drive for innovation &capacity building in order to have done extraordinarily in 2016.
“The Guardian, fully aware that manufacturing is a key driver of economic growth and development will through the award ceremony bring together industry leaders in the sector with a view to recognizing organizations and individuals that are driving and advancing the course of manufacturing in the nation”, the award committee explained.
For the different award categories, the award committee, made up of research analysts well-versed with the developments in the manufacturing sector first called for entries from players in the sector and then employed various objective parameters and criteria in the process of selecting and short-listing the nominees out of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing companies, institutions and businesses registered and operating in Nigeria, eventually unveiling the trailblazing companies listed below as nominees.
The Awards categories include, The Manufacturing Company of the Year, The Manufacturing CEO of the Year, BabyCare Products Manufacturing Company of the Year, Beer Manufacturing Company of the Year,Cement Manufacturing Company of the Year,Flour Miller of the Year, Lubricant Manufacturing Company of the Year,Malt Drinks Manufacturing Company of the Year, Mattress Manufacturing Company of the Year.