Recently, the National Council and members of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) held the 50th anniversary of the association in Abuja where the association reiterated its commitment to achieving a desirable industrialisation agenda for the country. TAIWO HASSAN reports
May 7 of every year remains a special day for the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the authentic voice of manufacturers in Nigeria – a credible platform for the private sector to formulate and articulate policy suggestions that complement government’s efforts in the overall interest of the economy. On May 7, 1971, MAN birthed a private sector-led advocacy body for its manufacturing sector where it began its activities as the shining light of Nigerian manufacturing sector. However, now in its Golden Jubilee, the fact remains this could not have been possible without the long-standing commitment and immense support of strategic partners, both local and international.
Speaking on the MAN’s celebration, the MAN President, Mansur Ahmed, put MANs membership strength at over 2,500, comprising multinationals and large corporations, as well as small and medium scale industries. In addition, he noted that these members were serviced through its 14 branches nationwide, 10 sectorial and 16 sub-sectorial groups, the Abuja liaison office and the national head office in Lagos. He explained that in West Africa and Africa, MAN had played significant roles in fostering collaboration amongst manufacturers and advancing the interest and recognition of the private sector. Ahmed stated: “We are currently mobilising the various manufacturers’ association in West Africa to revive the Federation of West African Manufacturers Association (FEWAMA) with the active support of ECOWAS. At the same time, in conjunction with the African Union, MAN is leading the formation of the Pan-African Manufacturers Association.” In his response to the start-up of AfCFTA, the MAN boss said the association was an active part of a continental private sector movement to bring the African private sector under a single umbrella.
Manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP
The Federal Government disclosed that the country’s manufacturing sector contributed a whopping $40 billion to the national GDP (gross domestic product) in the last 20 years in terms of total output growth. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, disclosed this while speaking as the guest speaker at the virtual cake cutting event to mark the association’s 50 years in Abuja. The minister also said the country’s manufacturing sector, as demonstrated, was the backbone of the country’s employment sector, currently employing close to seven million Nigerians in its workforce. He said that the role the manufacturing sector played in nation building cannot be over emphasised, adding that the productive sector of the Nigerian economy was the engine room of Nigeria’s GDP because of its significant contribution as the live wire of the economy. Adebayo said: “I bring greetings from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) and I wholeheartedly congratulate MAN on its 50th anniversary. Nigerian manufacturing sector has come a long way since the establishment of MAN. There are many aspects of manufacturing sector that crave for recognition, especially in the scale of growth that it has achieved increasing total output by over $40 billion in the last 20 years in addition to employing nearly seven million are among several landmark achievements. “We have seen amazing example like in the cement sector, which has witnessed incredible growth rate and full dedication to local demands and has attained the capacity to export cement to neighbouring countries.” While speaking on Nigeria’s outlook for its industrial sector, the industry minister said: “The outlook for the manufacturing sector is extremely positive. For example, the development of private sector crude oil refineries and various other backward integration projects, which will ultimately yield significant ben-efits for the economy, helps established Nigeria as one of the top manufacturing hubs in Africa.”
MAN’s role in policy formulation
Speaking further on the role of MAN in policy formulation and implementation, Adebayo emphasised: “I would also like to acknowledge MAN’s efforts as the main voice of manufacturing in Nigeria the platform provided to manufacturers in influencing policy formulation and implementation has been an example for other organised private sector associations. “I am extremely proud of the role this association plays in ensuring that products manufactured by its members are of highest quality. “
FCT minister on manufacturing sector
In his speech at the occasion, Alhaji Mohammed Musa Bello, Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, explained that the “revival of Nigerian manufacturing sector is very crucial to the revival of its economy and that’s why we all need to work hard to ensure a rebirth of the manufacturing sector as we cannot rely on outsiders to provide all our needs for us. “We are determined to make the FCT an industrial and manufacturing hub and we would continue to devote a lot of attention and resources to the development of industrial zones and lay out as contained in the Abuja master plan.”
However, major risks to manufacturing growth include heightened security concerns, weak confidence of investors, relatively lower oil production and weak commitment to key policy, regulatory and institutional reforms.
As the association marks its 50th anniversary, it is the wish and expectation of industry stakeholders that the next 50 years would bring greater success and prosperity to MAN and Nigeria’s manufacturing sector.