The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said the only way Nigerian industrialists can compete with their counterparts in the sub-Saharan Africa and the global level is for them to ensure they produce quality and standard products.
He said this when he paid a visit to the head office of a private company, Spectra Industries Limited in Lagos. The company produces beverages and soya flour among others.
Onu who inspected the production lines of the company, said Nigerian industrialists were already using reversed technology in processing farm produce to finished products, which could be exported.
While he noted that the country had relied on importation for too long, the minister said this had not been helpful in developing the economy.
He said, “I took the decision to visit here personally. It is to see the success we have recorded in Nigeria. With what I have seen here, I am convinced that Nigeria is ready to hit the global market with quality and standard products.
“I am using this occasion to call on other industrialists across the country to produce products that could compete not only in the sub-Saharan Africa but at a global level.
“For too long, we have relied on importation of goods. This is not helpful to us as a people. It makes it difficult for us to provide jobs for our people, because we are only creating jobs for those in others countries where we import from.”
Onu said this paradigm was shifting as the current administration was doing all within its powers to create conducive environment for industries and entrepreneurs to thrive.
The minister who appealed to the industrialists to make use of the technology incubation centres across the country, said the era of Nigerian industrialists having their products taken abroad for analysis and certification was gone, noting that this could now be done at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Lagos.
He added that the current administration would no longer tolerate a condition whereby research findings would be gathering dust in the research institutes and the ivory towers.
On her part, the executive director, Spectra Industries Limited, Mrs Oluremi Kuteyi, said the company had continuosly provided foods beneficial for good health and wellness of the consumers, thereby contributing to the development of the nation.
She called for government’s assistance in the area of making available pre-fabricated packaging machines for production through the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure.
According to her, some of the machines being used in the factory were fabricated by the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State.
The Chairman 9f the company, Chief Duro Kuteyi, who said he started the organisation from his house in 1992, called on the Federal Government to give loans to industrialists at five per cent interest rate.
He lamented that many promising businesses were being confronted with dearth of funds.
He also appealed to the government to look at reducing taxes for those industrialists operating in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector.
Kuteyi said manufacturers were yet to get patronage directly from the ministries, departments and agencies as many preferred to go through contractors, who often inflated the prices of the products they got from the manufacturers.
He said, “It is not wholesome to charge the Small and Medium Enterprises the same tax being charged the multinationals. We in the SMEs sector could do more if we get government’s assistance in the area of funding.
“It is not enough for government to say they are giving loans to entrepreneurs at one-digit rate of nine per cent, it should be brought to five per cent.”