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NSE blames inconsistent govt policies for manufacturing sector decline


The Nigerian Society of Engineers has attributed the ongoing decline of the nation’s manufacturing sector to a combination of factors, including inconsistent government policies, restrictive import licensing processes, unreliable power supply, and the rising cost of alternative energy sources.

In a pre-event press conference announcing its annual national engineering conference and general meeting, NSE President Tasiu Gidari-Wudil expressed concern over the gradual erosion of Nigeria’s non-oil export performance, which he linked to the manufacturing sector’s decline.

According to The PUNCH, Gidari-Wudil lamented the disappearance of rubber plantations in the South, the closure of coal mines in the East, the demise of textile hubs in Kaduna and Kano, and the collapse of the tannery industry across the North.

He attributed these setbacks to unfavorable and inconsistent government policies, such as an unstable foreign exchange regime, restrictive import licensing procedures, and the lack of constant power supply, which has led to the increased cost of alternative energy sources.

 Nigerian engineers are concerned about the gradual erosion of the little record Nigeria had on her non-oil export performance in the 60s and 70s.

Even though the non-oil export performance record was mainly based on agricultural produce, there were days of textile, coal, tyre, hides and skin and many other products exported from Nigeria. The rubber plantations in the South have disappeared, the coal mines in the East are no more, the textile hubs in Kaduna and Kano are moribund, and so is the tannery industry across the North.

“The reasons for the gloomy situation are not far-fetched, they range from unfavourable and inconsistent government policies such as unstable foreign exchange regime, hostile import licensing policies, unavailability of constant power, the rising cost of alternate energy supply, amongst many others,” Tasiu noted.

Gidari-Wudil highlighted the departure of several multinational corporations from Nigeria’s manufacturing sector, including Volkswagen, Michelin, Procter & Gamble, ISO Glass, Universal Steel, Universal Rubber, NASCO Fibre, GSK Pharma, Tower Aluminium, and others.

He pointed to the Ajaokuta Steel Manufacturing Company, a government-owned enterprise that has never produced a single length of steel since its establishment, as the most disheartening example of the manufacturing sector’s struggles.

Gidari-Wudil emphasized the NSE’s expertise, asserting that the Society possesses the best engineers in Nigeria and should be fully involved in addressing issues in the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.

Regarding the adoption of concrete technology, Gidari-Wudil stated that the NSE has thoroughly studied the advantages and disadvantages of both methods and will make its position known during the conference.

The conference is scheduled to open on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, with President Bola Tinubu as the Distinguished Guest of Honour and Vice President Sen. Kashim Shettima receiving the Honorary Fellowship award of the Society. Other dignitaries expected to attend include the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike; the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Abubakar Momoh; and the Minister of Water Resources, Joseph Utsev.

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