Researchers in Nigeria have advocated the formulation of a national policy on industry to enhance synergy and the transfer of research into products and services.
Speaking during a virtual meeting organised by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Research and Development Standing Committee, RDSC, on Institutionalisation of R&D in Industrialisation, manufacturing, Trade, Investment and Economy thematic group, the researchers stressed the need for Nigeria to utilise research to grow a competitive economy on areas of comparative advantage such as agriculture.
The President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Engr Mansur Ahmed, who chaired the meeting, noted that the country should aim at sustained economic growth, build the capacity of its manufacturing sector and expand trade policies.
He expressed confidence that R&D has enough potentials to grow the country’s manufacturing sector, noting that the country must factor research in a way that fits the industrialisation process to grow the economy in a way that Nigeria becomes an industrialised nation.
A Vice-Chairman of the TETFund RDSC, Prof Anya O. Anya, in his remarks, noted that Nigeria must aim at a double digits economic growth and single-digit inflation, adding that it is only when the country’s economy grows at 7.5 percent of GDP per annum that the country can overcome some of its challenges and induce competitiveness.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the RDSC, Prof Njida Gadzama, said given the potentials Nigeria has, the country deserves to be better than it is.
Prof Gadzama, who lamented that the country imports virtually everything, called on all Nigerians to lay aside their differences, unite and develop the country.
In a presentation, a Professor of Agronomy at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Prof Ali Garba, noted that the manufacturing sector accounts for only 11 percent of the country’s economy as of 2019, adding that manufacturing in Nigeria is hindered by the poor power supply, government policies, among others.
While giving a breakdown of Nigeria’s economic performance, Prof Garba said the country’s largest export sector is crude petroleum with 76 percent, while petroleum gas has 14 percent and agricultural products 22 percent.
He lamented that as of 1980, Nigeria used to refine its crude and all vehicles were assembled in Nigeria but now they are all imported, stating that agriculture and the industry are important mutual partners in the industrialisation process.
According to him, adequate infrastructural development such as good road networks and electricity were very critical to the country’s quest for industrialisation.