The Federal Government has urged the nation’s manufacturers to prepare for a Fourth Industrial Revolution that may be triggered by the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, gave this charge at the Nigeria Manufacturing and Equipment Expo 2020 in Lagos.
Osinbajo said the manufacturing sector remained key to government’s strategy for attaining sustainable growth and fulfilling the present administration’s promise to lift 100 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years.
Represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Otunba Niyi Adebayo at the forum, the Vice President maintained that no other sector provides a stronger linkage to creating new jobs, improving value addition and creating wealth for 50 percent of workforce in the agriculture sector than the real sector.
According to him, the country is at a crucial point in its economic history as a nation, saying that after emerging from a recession, the country has attained a reasonable measure of ma-economic stability with positive growth for more than two years.
He said: “We stand on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution, a technology revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. Also, imminent is the emergence of the AfCFTA, an agreement will change the positioning of the Nigerian market and the way trade is carried out in Africa.”
The Vice President pointed out that Nigeria was prepared to take the maximum advantage of the changes, adding that the challenges that remain are significant.
To overcome the hurdles, he charged: “We must agree on what must be done, creating good jobs and economic opportunities; bridging the infrastructure gap and provide the environment for businesses to thrive; addressing the concern of young entrepreneurs and start-ups; among others.”
In his remarks, the president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engr. Mansur Ahmed said the manufacturers appreciated government’s support for the real sector, particularly in ensuring that the operating environment becomes more conducive to help businesses thrive, notwithstanding the fast-growing competitive environment.
According to him, ahead of the implementation of the AfCFTA which will open our manufacturing sector to a much larger market, Nigeria manufacturers have to adopt the use of new technology to compete favourably with other nations that will be participating in the free trade market.
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