Former head of state, Yakubu Gowon and the Governor of Jigawa state have respectively urged that the country to make plans on the diversification of economy in order to position the country to competing effortlessly with international countries. They made this call at the 39th Kaduna International Trade Fair Summit on Wednesday with the theme, “Promoting Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for International Competitiveness”.
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According to Gowon, Nigeria must embark on decisive steps to make its plan go beyond oil exploration and importation.
Gowon, who was also the chairman of the event disclosed that the Federal Government Medium Term Development Plans of the 1960s’ and 70s’ were designed to put Nigeria’s industrial sector up for international competitiveness by 1980.
However, according to him, subsequent leaders of the country have for various reasons abandoned the plans, which resulted in uncoordinated failed development programmes.
Gowon, consequently praised Kaduna Chamber of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA), the organisers of the event, for being at the forefront of the promotion of trade among various local and international businesses.
He said, “KADCCIMA is closely associated with Kaduna State and the Federal Government to develop local and national economy by encouraging foreign enterprises and investors to invest in the country.”
“One of the key event of the trade fair is the seminar that provides avenue for dialogue and exchange of ideas with local and foreign business communities on ways to drive the national economy forward.”
“There is no better contribution than to show support to states and Federal Government quest to reposition the country’s economy for international competitiveness.”
In the same vein, Gov. Mohammed Abubakar of Jigawa and an industrialist, Hayatudeen Mohammed, also advocated that the country deploy technology in order to remain competitive in the global economy.
An industrialist and also the President, Alphine Services Ltd, Malam Hayatuddeen Mohammed stated that no development occur without planning and action.
He, therefore, called for a national vision, based on development planning in order to project the state of the country in the next 30 years. According to him, the country’s industrial development should be channeled towards producing products the country has competitive advantage.
“There is also the need to provide incentives for investors and industries as encouragement and make effort to fix the country’s infrastructure, particularly power and transport network.”
“We are dealing with monumental problem in Nigeria, a country with no guarantee of security, high cost of doing business, access to finance nearly impossible and insufficient skilled labor.”
“Poverty, conflict and violence, with human development index of 152 out of 180; global competition index 124 out of 140 countries and prosperity index of 125 out 142 countries.”
“Not only that, income disparity is quite wide and continue to widen with the poor getting poorer at an alarming rate while the rich are getting richer.”
“It is, therefore, very difficult to talk about international competitiveness under such circumstances. But above all, the focus should be improving businesses to improve quality of the lives of the people and raising the level of prosperity for Nigerians, propel development forward and transform the economy.”
“Having the resources is not enough, what we need is developing our skills, hard work, vision and imagination.”
“We also need to focus on improving the quality of life by increasing access to quality education, health services, good infrastructure and increase employment opportunities,“ he said.
Gov. Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa stated the obvious that technology would soon render the oil economy useless, adding that this, therefore, calls for the necessity of the country to industrialize in order to compete in the international community.
Abubakar thereby reiterated that the country must plan beyond the oil market through conscious steps toward exploiting the opportunities the manufacturing sector provides.
Earlier in his address, Dr Muheeba Dankaka, KADCCIMA President, stated that the theme of the trade fair was carefully chosen in order to draw the government’s attention on the need to vie away from oil dependent economy to a manufacturing one.
According to her, strengthening commerce,and diversifying the economy would create a boost in the country’s journey towards national economic development.