The Federal Government has said it is working towards reducing the cost of gas for power generation in the country as part of efforts to boost the manufacturing sector.
The Minister for Industry, Trade and Investments, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, said this at a roundtable discussion on the industrialisation of Africa organised by the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria.
He said cost competitiveness of the manufacturing sector was a major challenge identified by industry players.
According to Adebayo, Africa contributes less than two per cent to international trade, pushing it to the bottom of the global value chain.
He said this led to lower export trade volumes, lost job opportunities and reduced foreign exchange for players in the continent’s real sector.
He said for Nigerian industries to lead the transformation of the country and continent’s economy, all stakeholders must work together towards developing measures to improve cost competitiveness of the sector in the country.
He said, “For example, we are collaborating with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to lower the cost of gas which is critical to the production of the energy sector. This is one factor that can improve the cost competitiveness of the sector.
“Another way that Nigerian industries can position themselves for the African economic transformation is by aligning themselves with the country’s industrialisation programme. “On our part, we are accelerating the establishment of world-class special economic zones in Lagos, Abia and Kano, among others, which will drive our industrialisation programme by increasing the concentration of high quality infrastructure and providing fiscal incentives for producers in the sector.”
The minister urged manufacturers to take advantage of the SEZs and the wider market of 1.3 billion provided by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. He said the AfCFTA’s potential could only be reached by private sector-led investments.