By Chris Njoku
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on Nigerians to start looking at innovative ways to solve the nation’s economic challenges and not just rely on the government to do everything.
This was disclosed by Mr Akin Oyediran, Chairman Cross River/Akwa Ibom Branch of MAN during the association’s 16 Annual General Meeting, (AGM) and Public Lecture on Friday in Calabar.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the AGM was: “sustaining local production in a challenging and competitive economy; the manufacturer’s perspective”.
Oyediran said one of the major challenges manufacturers had was never looking at innovation but relying on the government to change things, adding that this system never worked.
The chairman said Nigerian manufacturers must change their orientation and start looking for effective ways to solve their teething problems such as poor power, finance among others.
According to him, “MAN came up with an initiative where a power system is constructed in a factory without the owners of the factories going to the banks to seek loans.
“When this system is installed, the factory owner pays for usage gradually for 15 years and after 15 years, he owns the system, meanwhile, he no longer has anything to do with diesel or the power holding companies.
“These are some of the innovations that can help us solve problems; our innovations must also involve how we vote, so we don’t vote the wrong people into office just because we are related to them,” he said.
He advised Nigerians to patronise made-in-Nigeria goods adding that for every dollar spent on a foreign product, it makes the product and the foreign company better while local manufacturers die.
He said it was sad that some Nigerians in the corridors of power still came out to demand imported cars when there were local manufacturers in the nation.
“We cannot fix our exchange rate issues in this nation until we make our manufacturing sector vibrant.
“We can have geniuses in the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) and government but if we are not making, consuming and selling what we make, we will end up with beautiful presentations of Nigeria being a growing economy that never grows.
“We need to fix this country and the only way is through manufacturing; we need to dig out things from the ground and transform them into things we can use and sell, otherwise, we are wasting time as a nation.
On his part, Gov. Bassey Otu who was the Special Guest of Honour said all over the world, no country would survive without manufacturing adding that manufacturers must be celebrated.
Represented by Mr Bashel Justin, Cross River, Commissioner for Science and Technology, Otu said he was aware of the challenges faced by manufacturers in the state which had made many of them fold up.
“We are poised to address multiple taxation and building from where the previous administration in the state stopped in turning the state from a civil service state to a production state through partnerships,” he said.
Similarly, Dr Adoga Inalegwu, Managing Director of Champion Brewery and member of MAN said it was time for the nation to start looking at development through manufacturing.
He added that their brewery which is based in Akwa Ibom was expanding to ensure that their products get to all nooks and cranny of the nation.