The President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, has said Nigeria’s industries will always remain noncompetitive, until it decisively tackles energy deficiency and reliability.
Akinwumi made this submission on Tuesday, while speaking at a meeting organised by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Abuja.
The AfDB President noted that no business can survive in Nigeria without generators.
“Today, no business can survive in Nigeria without generators. Consequently, the abnormal has become normal.
“Unless Nigeria decisively tackles its energy deficiency and reliability, its industries will always remain noncompetitive,” he said.
Adesina noted that the country had failed to position itself for economic growth and achievements, the type attained by developing countries like Vietnam and Malaysia.
“While for decades the share of manufacturing in Nigeria’s GDP, has hovered around 7%, the nation has not been able to extricate itself from the comatose of its industrial manufacturing sector to unleash the fulness of its potential.
“The performance of the manufacturing sector in the past five years has been poor. Between 2015-2017, the sector declined by -1.5%, -4.3% and -0.2%. This is in sharp contrast to the dynamic and rapid performance of manufacturing in Asian countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia and China.
“While Asian countries have focused on the export of manufactured products, Nigeria’s approach has been on import substitution. The manufacturing sector of Nigeria represents only 3% of total revenues from exports, but accounts for 50% of imports in the country. Instead of being forward looking in expanding the share of the manufactured goods in its total export revenue, Nigeria focuses on the model of import substitution.
“Import substitution, while important, is a very restrictive vision. It looks towards survival, instead of looking to create wealth through greater export market and value diversification. The end result is a manufacturing sector that cannot develop nor compete globally, but limits itself to “survival mode, not a “global manufacturing growth mode”.
Adesina added that Nigeria must have a greater ambition for its manufacturing sector by integrating and rapidly moving up global and regional value chains in areas of comparative advantage; by and by driving greater specialisation and competitiveness.
He also criticised the country’s apparent policy of limiting access to foreign exchange rather than expanding its forex earnings.