Launching Nigeria as the Next Manufacturing Hub
Story by Gladys Johnson
Manufacturing Partnership for African Development (mPAD) and Nigeria Manufacturing Expo is set to launch Nigeria as the next manufacturing hub for manufacturing in Africa. This was declared at a press briefing held at Eko hotel Lagos by the organizers.
There is great anticipation in the industry for the upcoming, third annual mPAD (Manufacturing Partnership for African Development) & Nigeria Manufacturing Expo as hundreds of manufacturing professionals and potential investors are expected to attend, discuss challenges, explore the best that Nigeria has to offer and discuss the way forward. The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment is the official host ministry for the third annual mPAD & Nigeria Manufacturing Expo which will take place from 15-17 March 2016 in the Landmark Centre in Lagos.
The event is organised by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in partnership with Spintelligent Pty and Clarion Events Ltd, African event specialists and organizers of the West African Power Industry Convention (WAPIC).
“There is more to Nigeria than oil”, says Russell Hughes, Director of the Nigeria Manufacturing Expo. “Last year Nigerian imports of food processing and packaging machinery increased over 20% to $365 million, plastics and rubber products grew by 23.8% and $7.4bn was spent on importing vehicle and automotive parts along with The National Automotive Council (NAC) disbursing $46m in loans aimed at developing local production.”
“The Nigeria Manufacturing Expo will be an international platform to showcase manufacturing machines, facilitate re-tooling, build capacity of plant managers, stimulate investment and promote made-in-Nigeria products in accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP)”, says Remi Ogunmefun, Director General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). “We will mobilize MAN members and other stakeholders on the manufacturing value chain to participate in the exhibition”
MAN member companies all manufacture made-in-Nigeria products, ranging from food, beverage and tobacco, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, textiles, construction, industrial plastics foam and rubber, pulp, paper to paper products amongst many others.
Eagerness to reposition the manufacturing sector
“The plan for the Nigeria Manufacturing Expo is apt and timely because of Government’s eagerness to reposition the manufacturing sector which hitherto has been neglected due to over dependence on oil” – said Mr. Yunusa S. Labaran, Substantive Director Trade, For: Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment in an interview last month. Director Labaran added: “to enhance the performance of the manufacturing sector, government has to address the energy and infrastructural challenges which has inhibited the maximum contribution of the sector to GDP and economic growth of this country. In recent time the country has witnessed stability in energy supply and this I believe would enhance production capacity of the manufacturing sector”.
According to Mr Labaran: “diversification from oil based economy is the solution to the current dwindling fortune of the oil market. The Ministry through the launching of the NIRP (Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan) is therefore poised to diversify to areas Nigeria has comparative and competitive advantage”.
A journey of robust economy
“My vision for the industry is to see Nigeria one day conceptualise robust engineering products design and then see through manufacturing and then managing the entire products life cycle” says Eng. Ekemini Amos, Director, Projects and Technical Services at Thompson & Grace Investment Ltd – gold sponsor for the Nigeria Manufacturing Expo.
This local manufacturer’s products include cranes and lifting engineering solutions, complete machining, steel and special purpose steel products, fabrication of pressure vessels and pressure piping, design software solutions, technical training and OCTG. The company was also recently certified by API to manufacture products within the following monograms: 5CT, 6A and 7-1.
To take the Nigerian manufacturing sector to the next level, says Eng. Amos, “the Government of the day needs to realize that until the nation becomes a manufacturing nation and export manufactured products to other countries, then shall we start a journey of robust economy. We are looking forward to promoting the message to the world that there are Nigerian companies that are focused on getting the journey started. We are happy to be part of this dream, though a very tough one.”
Improve manufacturing quality
Says Russell Hughes: “visitors to the Nigeria Manufacturing Expo will be able to evaluate and purchase the equipment they require to modernize their facilities, improve their manufacturing quality, become more competitive locally and internationally and increase their output.”
He adds: “with the likes of Bank of Industry (BOI) invited as event partners and the free to attend training seminars taking place for factory managers, procurement officers, technicians and engineers, exhibition visitors will be able to apply for the capital required to finance their factory upgrades and up skill their teams to help reduce manufacturing costs, increase market response.”
Driving growth through manufacturing excellence
The objectives of the event are to attract FDI, support the NIRP, increase local production, support job creation and ultimately stimulate the growth and diversification of the Nigeria economy for self-reliance and export of non-oil and gas products.
To help achieve this, the third annual mPAD (Manufacturing Partnerships for African Development) will be co-located at the event as a series of invitation-only round table discussions designed for government officials, trade and export councils, ECOWAS officials, key manufacturing association board members and financiers.