Nigeria Imported N4. 97trn Chemical Products In 4 Years – MAN

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BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – Following the near collapse of petrochemical industries and the country’s inability to attain self-sufficiency in producing chemical products, Nigeria spent a whopping sum of N4.97 trillion from 2017 to 2020 to import the products.

Disclosing this during a public lecture series organised by the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE), FCT/Nasarawa Chapter in Abuja recently on the topic ‘Manufacturing as the key engine for economic growth,’ the Director of Research and Advocacy Support of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr Oluwasegun Osidipe, disclosed that such a massive importation constituted a “huge drain on Nigeria’s external reserves” for the importation of chemical products.

“Nigeria’s imports of chemical products was N905 billion in 2017; increased to N990 billion in 2018; N1.39 trillion in 2019; and N2.68 trillion in 2020 (National Bureau of Statistics. This huge imports constitute huge drain on Nigeria’s external reserves with pressure on the Naira value, even though some of the chemicals could have been produced locally,” he said

 Describing the heavy reliance on importation of chemical materials despite the “highly unfavourable exchange rate parity accounts for the high cost of production and low competitiveness of the sector,” Osidipe said the challenges involved in accessing forex has also led to high cost of electricity for consumers, among others.

Some issues stifling the manufacturing sector, according to Dr Osidipe, include “high cost of transportation due to the hiking of refined petroleum products and bad roads; low demand of commodity caused by backlog of unpaid salaries; high cost of borrowing from the commercial banks over-regulation by all tiers of Government and lack of synergy between Research, Professional, Tertiary Institutions & the Industry Economics & Statistics Department,” among others.

Stressing on the need to develop key sectors and industries “with high inter-industry linkages (machine industry, iron & steel, petrochemical sectors, etc),” Osidipe also called for “providing adequate incentive (monetary and fiscal incentives) companies embarking on backward integration and encouraging more investments in petro-chemical, machinery and iron & Steel development with appropriate incentives,” among others in order to revive the comatose manufacturing sector.

Comparing China and Nigeria’s industrial development to demonstrate the extent manufacturing plays in determining the per capita income and rate of development, Osidipe said  China’s development hinged manufacturing as “the key to long term social and economic development of any country.”

 “From 1960 to 2003, Per Capita Income of China in current US-Dollar value averaged $342.09 and within this period, there was no perceptive record of manufacturing value addition in the country. However, from 2004 to 2019, China’s Per Capita Income averaged $5,412.00; $8,458.69 from 2015 to 2019; and was recorded as $9,770.85 in 2019. From 2004 to 2019, manufacturing value addition was 30.56% which is the highest in the world, while unemployment rate was very low at 3.8% in 2018.

“This development trajectory of China far outpaced that of Nigeria within the same period even though Nigeria began with a better footing. From 1960 to 2003 when Nigeria’s country’s Per Capita Income was US$508.22, which is higher than China’s US$342.09 at that period. China moved up the ladder from 2004 to 2019 when Nigeria’s Per Capita Income averaged US$2, 175.01 and US$2,425.12 from 2014-2019, while employment was recorded higher at 22.56% in 2018,” said the lecturer.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the occasion and the National President of the NSChE, Engr. Saidu A. Mohammed, commended the NSChE FCT Nasarawa chapter for organising such public lecture series. Chapter of the chapter, Engr. Onyekachi Onugu, disclosed that the inability of the chapter to hold the lecture series in the past one years had been as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He assured those p[resent that efforts have been completed to regularly organise the events at a regular interval.

 The event also witnessed a certificate of recognition given to five members of the chapter. They include Engr Adokiye Tombomieye, Engr Yusuf Usman, Dr Steve Momoh, Engr Ahmed Dikko, Dr Salihu Jamari and Engr Salisu Ahmed.

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