The Managing Director of Coleman Wires and Cables, Mr. George Onafowokan, has called on the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, and the federal government to prioritize the manufacturing sector in 2024. Onafowokan emphasized the need for the industry to take precedence over trade and investment, noting that a minister’s advocacy for the industry within the government is crucial.
Speaking on challenges faced by the manufacturing sector in 2023, Onafowokan highlighted the burdensome bureaucracy hindering investments in Nigeria. He urged Uzoka-Anite to provide increased support to manufacturers, suggesting a separation of the industry from other ministries to ensure focused attention and assistance.
On the issue of foreign investments, Onafowokan advised the government to concentrate on enhancing the capacity of existing investors rather than relying solely on Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). He expressed concern about the potential folding of companies within two years if they don’t receive significant government support, particularly for pioneer product investments.
Addressing the use of taxpayer money for palliatives, Onafowokan cautioned that such measures, if unproductive, could contribute to increased inflation. He stressed the importance of finding a balance between fiscal and monetary policies to ensure the sustainability of the manufacturing sector.
Despite concerns, Onafowokan commended the government for its infrastructural development efforts, citing the positive impact of projects like the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on businesses in that corridor.
In summary, the call for prioritizing the manufacturing sector is grounded in addressing bureaucratic challenges, focusing on local investor capacity building, and ensuring a balanced approach to fiscal and monetary policies. Onafowokan’s recommendations underscore the urgency of supporting the industry for sustainable economic growth in Nigeria.