Nigeria’s currency, the Naira will continue to slide if the country continues to depend on imported goods, Simbi Wabote, executive secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has observed.
He made the assertion at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Abia State Industrial Innovation Park (AIIP) project, which is located in Owaza community, in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State.
He observed further that there is no miracle that can shore up the value of the Naira, if not manufactured locally.
He advised the Abia State Government to consider providing critical infrastructure, such as power, water, roads, drainages and waste treatment, to make the proposed AIIP operations sustainable.
The AIIP project on completion, would be a manufacturing hub, including a technology innovation centre, modern vehicle Assembly plant, power generation plant, LNG and CNG tank farms, as well as Haulage.
He noted that a viral manufacturing sector will not only catch the much-needed employment opportunities but will also have a multiplier effect on the economy, especially if the right policies and mechanisms are put in place to stimulate both forward and backward integration for the products and materials that would be manufactured.
He stated that the conception and implementation of the Abia Industrial Innovation Park is indeed well thought through, as it would enable the State to occupy its rightful position, as a key manufacturing hub of apparel, shoes and other finished leather products, like belt, bags and trinck box, for the entire nation and beyond.
“Hence when I was told about this industrial park, I quickly went to my friend, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ben Kalu to tell him that good things are happening in Abia and I know that you will be part of this journey to make this good thing happen and he told me that he is part of it and will continue to be part of it, because that is the only way we can turn around the economy of this country”.
Wobote affirmed that with dedication and consistency, the proposed park when realised can position Abia State as a competitive player in the global market, as it will attract national and international investors which will then contribute significantly to the State and nation’s economy.
He acknowledged that one of the major challenges faced by Nigerian manufacturers is the high cost of production, which is largely attributed to power generation, as most manufacturers rely on alternative power sources, especially now that the downstream sector has been deregulated.
To solve this problem, he said that the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, has conceived an initiative called the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGaPS) to establish low-cost manufacturing hubs in the oil-producing States of Nigeria, which of course Abia State is included.
He said that NOGaPS is set out to encourage local production of goods, component parts, and spare parts that are utilised across the oil and gas value chain and its linkage sectors
“Based on the realisation that high production cost is a major challenge for local manufacturers, we adopted a shared service strategy, where we provide infrastructure, such as power supply, road network, water and waste treatment and so on for such businesses that would be located within the site”.
This according to him, will enable manufacturers to settle on their core business of manufacturing, rather than adding the role of power generation, road construction and so on with their core operation of manufacturing.
“By removing the bottlenecks in the industry, we can realise our full potential of manufacturing and contribution to the country’s GDP, which is currently at about 15 percent”.
He stated that the pilot phase of its oil and gas park, which is located in Odupani, in Cross Rivers State and Omeyawon in Bayelsa State is at the final stages of construction and both will come on stream in the 1st quarter of 2024.
He commended Governor Alex Otti for taking the decision to create the park, as it will unleash the potential for the benefit of manufacturers and the people of Abia State and Nigeria, as a whole.
This is as he expressed the willingness of NCMB to share experiences with the State to ensure that the park becomes a success story. “We will partner with you and use the model that we have adopted to develop other parks to develop this industrial park”.
On the location of the project, Wabote said ‘I wish to commend the location of the park, it is strategic, close to a waterway, close to gas facilities and I think it is the right location for an industrial park”..…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>