Tuesday, May 30, 2017 11:29 pm
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday inaugurated the National Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council with a directive to create the chance for Nigeria to be competitive in international trade.
The Vice President is the chair of the council with the two ministers of Industry, Okechukwu Enelamah and Aisha Abubakar as chairs of the public sector team.
Also Alhaji Aliko Dangote chairs the private sector group with Atedo Peterside as alternate chair.
At the event in the Presidential villa, the Acting President said the council’s duty was not just patriotic but one to enable Nigerians to create livelihoods for themselves.
“It is not just a patriotic duty but I believe that it is what will rescue and save our country and give our country a real chance to be competitive in global business and commerce.
“And to give our people a fair chance of being able to create livelihood for themselves, jobs and all of those things that will make for a nation of people who are happy and satisfied.’’
The Acting President observed that the council members represented the crème de la crème of industry and business in Nigeria as a group and working with the public sector.
According to him, if the council cannot get it right then it is unlikely that the country can never get it right.
He said the council was important because generally speaking the public sector was not known to be good in business and could not deliver on any industrialisation effort.
Osinbajo said that everywhere the government drove industrialisation, it always ended up in stagnation.
“Even the most successful experiments ended up in stagnation because government simply does not make the best business men or women.
“Government simply is not motivated enough,’’ he said.
He said it was the entrepreneurs’ drive for profit that saved the industry adding that such drives were initially personal.
He said that many of the council members had come to a point where it was not just enough to be wealthy or successful especially in a country with enormous potential.
Osinbajo added that even to make more profits the environment needed to improve.
“I am really excited that we are starting something today which I strongly believe that if we do it right we have a chance to turn things around permanently in the country,’’ the Acting President said.
He acknowledged that the key thing was implementation adding that while the private sector had the smartest people in the world, the public sector had the technocrats.
He urged for the collaboration of both sectors to solve many of the problems confronting the industrial sector, including creating good industrial hubs and solving power problems.
He also urged the council to hold the government accountable and make the government act more effectively.
“I think that what we have tried to do by creating this council is to be able to put the policy to test and policy to examination.
“So that there is a process by which the private sector is able to contribute to policy implementation but more importantly also to developing those policies,’’ he said.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Enelamah said the council represented what the government was working out in furtherance of the partnership between the public and private sector with respect to industrialisation.
He said he was confident that the council would provide the formula that would work and produce results.
The council discussed the industrialisation priorities for the economy where Aliko Dangote said the council was a welcome development which if well utilised could ensure diversification of the economy.
He urged that government should remove the constraints hindering industrialisation such as power, transportation, inconsistencies in policies, and challenges in land acquisition and communal violence.
He urged the government to strive to implement the recommendations of the council for impact.
Also Mr Atedo Peterside added that the council was there because the industrial sector was not big enough.
He said that environment to accommodate new players should be created especially for the youth who were not much present.
“Our task is to make it possible for existing players to grow and expand and to eliminate the barriers that have kept the youth from taking part in this sector that should be a vibrant sector.
“In so doing our approach has to be holistic.
“It should not be that we do business only by government intervention periodically because if you run the right environment and put the right policies in place government should not need to intervene except in rare cases.’’ (NAN)