Bank of Industry (BoI) weekend, said that Nigerians must get serious with its economic diversification effort and stop paying lip service to the economy. The bank said that the nation cannot achieve its industrialisation drive to end importation if the political will to carry through the reforms needed is lacking.
Acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr Waheed Olagunju, said this at a media parley with the theme ‘Sustaining Nigerian Industrial Sector through Impactful Partnerships’ held in Lagos, adding that industrialisation requires a multidisciplinary process that ensures all stakeholders play their parts
Olagunju identified self reliance as one of the variables for measuring the extent of a nation’s strength and not while it depends on others, lamenting that Nigeria can not claim to be strong when statistics have shown that it accounts for $11billion out of $34 billion Africa spends on import of food items. “We have all it takes to feed ourselves. We need to domesticate our production capacity because we have the market, the population and natural resources.
“Given our resources endowment as a country, we have under performed, we have not done well, when you compare Nigeria in 1970 with China, our indices were better than those of China, in 1970, the GDP per capita for Nigeria was $235 and that of China was $111, Nigeria was ranked 88th in the world and China was ranked 114th in the world. What happened in 44years: China is now 2nd in the world, Nigeria 26th in the world, what did we do with our life in 44 years and what have we continued to do with our lives. We are all talking about transforming industrial sector, we all need to transform.
“Goldman Sachs, said Nigeria will top 20 economies of the world by 2020, that was based on vision 2020, based on our natural endowments we should be among the top 20 economies by 2020, we have four years to go, so which countries are going to displace in four years.
Mexico was one of the countries in that league at that time and comparison; Nigeria and Mexico have population above 100 million. In 1970, both depended heavily on oil; Nigeria 90 percent, Mexico 80 percent and 20 percent non oil export but today we still continue to depend on oil, using 2014 statistics, Mexico has reversed all of that, they have been able to diversify their economy successfully.”
He said that it is not a rocket science to transform Nigeria’s economy, stating: “others have done it before, manufactured goods accounts for 80 percent of Mexico’s income today, as at 2014 Mexico was 15th largest economy in the world, their GDP 1.84 trillion, per capita income $15,000. So we as a country have been heavily dependent on imports and we have continued to do so, that is why we are where we are today. We are talking of transformation, we need to diversify our economy, reform our economy.
“Bill Clinton in 2007 when he was leaving office, came to Nigeria and said oil is a wasted asset, invest your resources well, develop your real sector, agriculture, food security is very important to be able to feed yourselves, your infrastructure, power, rail, social services, education and health. You need to invest your oil money wisely but we did not listen.
“When the wife too became secretary of states, she said Nigeria is where it is today due to failure in governance over the years. She did not blame any particular body, she said government at all levels over the years, we need to get our act right and the media has an important role to play in this regard,” he said.
Call for industrial parks across states
The MD called on state governments, international organisations and those who have the resources to establish industrial parks, saying, “when you do so you localise industrialisation, industrial park reduces start up cost for SMEs and reduces operating expenses, there is a synergy, when they are localised it makes access to information easier, it is easier to train them when they are localised. Let us start with one industrial park in each senatorial district, so that youths in such environment can benefit.”
He described the bank’s transition from ICON, NIDB to BoI as a well thought out plan for achieving its mission to transform Nigeria’s industrial sector.
“In terms of population, resource endowment, these are natural factors that we have in our favour that should trigger industrialisation, so we are not disadvantaged like other countries, we have the demographics, some countries are land lock, they are overtaken by water, but we are taking our own for granted, some countries do not have natural resources but we have 44 identified in commercial quantity in addition to oil, gas, agriculture, nollywood, creative industry and location,” he said.
78,000 farmers accessed CBN ABP fund – Tobin
Executive Director, Corporate Services BoI, Mr. Jonathan Tobin, said that 78, 000 peasant farmers from Kebbi State have accessed part of the N40 billion set aside by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP)
Under the CBN Anchor Borrowers programme, the government set aside N40 billion out of the N220billion Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund which will be given as support for small scale farmers in Nigeria. The loan facility was made available to small holder farmers to assist them in procuring necessary agricultural inputs such as seedlings, fertilisers, pesticides and other important inputs to help boost agricultural output and productivity.
To this end, Tobin said that the CBN invited 14 Governor of rice producing states and MD’s of all commercial banks to expose the ABP to them and to seek their “buying in,” but at the end only the governor of Kebbi State stepped forward.
Continuing, he said the farmers now cultivate rice in the state disowning claim that Nigeria cannot produce rice. However, he disclosed that by the next planting season, the farmers would be cultivating Wheat. “ABP is developed for Nigeria farmers. Somebody said Nigeria cannot produce wheat, “is a lie,” it has been experimented in Kebbi State and it did well. The next farm season CBN is going to finance wheat cultivation in that state and other states. We have been importing because we have so much in our reserve,” Tobin said.