By Dikachi Franklin, in Owerri
Remy Uche, an expert on economic matters and a professor at the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), has advised the federal and state governments to create a dedicated ministry for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to boost moribund and failing industries in the manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy.
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Speaking on the topic, “Reawakening and Imbibing the Culture of Manufacturing Enterprise”, at an annual lecture series in honour of Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Iwuanyanwu, a renowned engineer in Owerri, Uche said the creation of the ministry would be a catalyst for the industrial development in Nigeria.
He further stated that the creation of this ministry would not only rekindle the spirit of manufacturing in the country but would also boost the economy and nurture the desire of the captains of industries to deepen effort to produce goods.
“In the growing economies today, there is high demand for goods of small and medium industries,” he said.
Looking at the overview of industrial development programmes in Nigeria, he recalled that the first national development programme was instituted in 1962 and was operational between 1962 and1968, noting further that at independence in 1960, and for much of the decade, agriculture was the mainstay of the Nigeria economy.
Uche informed that at a time agriculture was providing food and employment for the populace, raw materials for the industrial sector and generating the bulk of revenue for government.
He noted that wealth creation is the primary outcome of manufacturing centres through value addition, pointing out that Nigeria as a country is one of the populous countries in the world.
From the economic perspective he noted that there is a huge market with high demand of basic needs, and believes that the Nigerian consumer uses different products on daily basis.
The professor emphasized that everything from lotion, toothpaste, soap, cloths, phones to vehicles that carry them and the petrol in these vehicles, that all these imported products are consumed in Nigeria.
He said that manufacturing creates jobs directly or indirectly saying that reawakening the sector would provide millions of new jobs for the unemployed youths.
According to him, giving the unemployed youths tricycles (keke) in the name of poverty alleviation is poverty provocation.