Between 2010 and 2015, Nigeria spent about N47 trillion importing raw materials and products that the country has comparative advantage over other countries, a research has found.
To end the trend, the Federal Government developed the National Strategy for Competitiveness in Raw Material and Product Development that will help to reduce importation by N3 trillion and create 4.4 million jobs in five years.
Speaking at a workshop for journalists, yesterday in Abuja, the Project Manager, Strategy Implementation Task Unit (SITU) of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Sir Henry Eteama, who gave the breakdown said within the period, 97 items were listed to be imported.
“The importation of nuclear equipment led with N9trn; vehicle and transport equipment at N8.2trn; electrical equipment at N7.3trn; and petroleum products at N3.4trn. The other imports included fish, dairy products, plastics and cereals,” he said.
Eteama stated that the strategy document has a five-year short term plan, a 10-year medium plan and a 15-year long term plan. In the first five years, he said, about 4.4m jobs would be created to employ fresh graduates, while saving the Federal Government N3trn from imports.
The Director General of RMRDC, Dr. Hussaini Ibrahim, in his address said, “For our Made-In-Nigeria goods to be competitive both nationally and internationally, the raw materials have to be competitive in quality and price. This is a task that must be emphasised if the economy must grow.”
Dr. Ibrahim noted that the strategy involved sensitising the public, including entrepreneurs, industries, research and development institutions among others to drive global competitiveness especially on developing local raw materials.
He said RMRDC initiated the strategy and got approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for its implementation on May 31, 2017.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, inaugurated the National Consultative Committee on Competitiveness (NCCC) in August to establish Competitiveness Project Desk Office (CPDO) across MDAs to assist the Secretariat, SITU.
He urged the media to partner with government in implementing the strategy saying, “It is necessary to point out here that this project will be successful only with your collaboration as members of the fourth estate of the realm.”
The Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Garba Abari, urged the media to champion the patriotic cause so that dependence on import of products and raw materials would be reduced through the strategy.
In his address, the Director of Bio-Resources Technology Department of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Pharm. Abayomi Oguntunde, announced that there are efforts to commence the commercialisation of R&D breakthroughs from various institutions.
“You should be prepared to publicise work of Nigerian scientists, researchers and experts to facilitate domestic and international quality standardisation,” Oguntunde said.