I am indeed pleased to be here with you today on this special occasion of the 44th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). I congratulate MAN on the successful hosting of this meeting, which brings together captains of industry from across the country to share experiences and ideas on strategies to overcome our problems and to chart a new and prosperous course for the nation’s industrial sector.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen; Let me use this opportunity to express Government’s appreciation to the President and the members of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, for your immense contributions and unwavering commitment to the socio-economic development of our dear nation over the years.
Suffice it to say that our nation owes you all a debt of gratitude for your show of commitment, demonstrated by your respective investments in Nigeria’s economy despite daunting challenges. The future of our nation depends on such commitment and our collective desire to build a thriving economy. This Administration remains committed to partnering with you in the task of charting a brighter future for our nation. Government is very appreciative of your contributions in formulating national economic policies.
This event is timely and the theme ‘Diversifying the Nigerian Economy: the Role of Government in Manufacturing’ quite apt as it is coming at a time when the nation is faced with the urgent need to diversify the economy in the light of dwindling price of crude oil in the global market. As you know, the dramatic fall in crude oil and other commodity prices has had a serious negative impact on world economies, especially countries like Nigeria which depended on one commodity for its export earnings.
This Administration is convinced that the key to our quest for economic diversification and therefore survival lies in Agriculture and the Manufacturing sector. A strong manufacturing sector will create more jobs and wealth for our people. It will usher in sustainable economic prosperity because we will produce what we consume as a nation and generate foreign exchange by exporting any surplus.
The Manufacturing sector is well positioned to be a major driver of Nigeria’s economic growth because of our immense natural resources and the entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians. Government is therefore focused on implementing necessary policies and strategies aimed at unleashing the full potentials of manufacturing in Nigeria. We will rely heavily on your ideas and inputs at all stages of formulation and implementation of new industrial policies. For our part, we will remove bottlenecks and create a more business friendly environment.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, our strategic plan to boost manufacturing activities in the country is supported by the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprises Development Programme (NEDEP). These programs, present a clear road map towards an industrialised Nigerian economy.
We are working on improving the patronage of locally made goods, bridging the gap between skills required by industry and those provided by our educational institutions and access to finance for our Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs). We recognise that MAN and the other Organised Private Sector (OPS) groups are our key stakeholders in this journey and we will continue our engagement with you.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am inspired by your commitment to the future of our great country and as you deliberate on the theme of this 44th Annual General Meeting (AGM), I urge you to consider our national interest, so that the outcome of your deliberations will be to the benefit of Nigerians workers and promoters alike. I look forward to receiving a communiqué of the deliberations from this meeting.
I salute all members of MAN and once again congratulate you on the occasion of your 44thAGM and invite you today to join hands with government in making our ongoing efforts a success. As events unfold in the coming months, many of you will be called upon to play critical roles in the implementation of this Administration’s agenda. I implore you to avail us your wealth of experience so that together we can uplift our nation’s economy and social well-being.