Political parties are indispensable components of a functional democracy. Parties are primarily established to function as ideological movement with the capacity to shape the operation and direction of those elected officers who rose to power on the wings of political parties. As an elected officer, one way to show loyalty to your political party is by being committed to the party manifesto. One area President Muhammadu Buhari and team of governors elected under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have demonstrated taint-less loyalty to their party is in industrialization. One of the cardinal goals of the APC is industrialist. This was shown in the party’s manifesto which is to among other things, “… formulate a robust industrialization policy and provide a conducive environment for a private sector led industrial base for the economy, promote entrepreneurship that would help usher in new industries, new jobs, new knowledge and utilization of information and communication technologies.” In line with this principle, the Buhari administration has thrived in several areas in industrial growth across the country. This development cut across small and medium scale industries through large scale investments, leading to employment generation, youth empowerment, and poverty alleviation.
No doubt, achieving development objectives is a herculean task especially in a country such as Nigeria, where corruption was promoted by successive administrations, while the collective patrimony of the people was deliberately carted into private pockets by the powers-that-be, at the detriment of the masses. However, in the face of these challenges, the Buhari-led APC administrations at Federal and State levels came up with a blueprint on how to tackle the corruption menace, while pursuing the goal of improving the local industries and attracting foreign investors into the country. Some of the local industries developed during the current administration cut across the various sectors of the economy, including, but not limited to agriculture, entertainment, human capital development and technological advancement, among others.
In the past, factors that shape the future for vibrant and sustainable economy were not given adequate attention by successive governments. Global testimony has shown that private sector cannot bring the needed transformation without government leading it. Previous governments abdicated their responsibilities to the private sector, while waiting for miracle to happen. They were more concerned about sharing the national cake and the revenue accrued from the oil sector, without thinking about the future and without making any genuine efforts to diversify the economy. They consumed all that they produced, and even devoured all that was meant for the future generations. Recent developments however reveal that President Buhari-led APC administration is re-positioning the nation’s economy for an all-round industrial revolution.
In the agricultural sector, there is a greater boost than ever before in the sector, considering that it employs more than 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population. In line with this, this administration has ensured that key agricultural products such as cocoa and rubber go through value addition as opposed to exporting raw materials for industries in other countries. Also, the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (which involves a partnership with the Government of Morocco, for the supply of phosphate), has resulted in the revitalization of 14 blending plants across the country, with a total installed capacity in excess of 2 million Metric Tonnes. The benefits include annual savings of US$200 million in foreign exchange, and 60 billion annually in budgetary provisions for fertilizer subsidies. The Scheme has also made it possible for farmers to purchase fertilizer at prices up to 30 percent cheaper than previously available.
Gigantic projects commissioned by the Buhari-led administration include the Lagos-Kebbi (Lake) Rice which has the capacity to yield about 20 metric tonnes per hour. This project is very strategic because Lagos State is the largest consumer of food commodities in the country by virtue of its large population. The state has the market with the required purchasing power. The state has an estimated consumption of 798,000 metric tons of milled rice per year which is equivalent to 15.96 million of 50-kilogram bags with a value of N135 billion per annum. The Lagos-Kebbi (Lake) Rice is an offshoot of the collaboration between Lagos and Kebbi states. Kebbi is the largest producer of rice paddy and thus has the capacity to mill them at the 2.5 metric tonne-capacity milling plant in Imota, Lagos.
Kebbi state does not only serve as raw material base for the Lake Rice, it equally has a Rice Mill – Wacot – where paddy rice is processed. Commissioned on 1st August, 2017, the Kebbi Wacot Rice Mill, located in Argungu, is touted as the largest of its kind in West Africa. With an investment volume of N10 billion, it has the capacity to produce 120,000 metric tons annually and 400 metric tons of rice daily, thereby empowering it to generate direct and indirect employment for over 3500 people. In addition, as the capacity of Wacot Mill grows, its procurement value of rice paddy will reach out to at least 50,000 local farmers. The Kebbi Wacot Rice Mill has about 10 silos with the capacity to store 18,000 tons of rice paddy and warehouses for storing an additional 12,000 tons of rice paddy. Built with the economics of the environment in mind, it is expected to generate electricity from husk (the hard-protecting coverings of grains of rice), thereby ensuring that all byproducts from the processing are well-utilized. It will generate 1 megawatt of electricity via turbines to reduce dependence on the national grid. It also has a fully equipped water treatment plant that takes care of its liquid waste before being discharged into the community safely.
In Edo state, the Edo Fertilizer Plant and Edo BUA Cement Factory were commissioned on 29 and 30 August, 2017, respectively. The Edo Fertilizer Plant has the capacity to employ 500 direct jobs and is expected to produce 60,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer per annum. During the commissioning of the Fertilizer Plant, the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki described the plant as a milestone of the government, as the facility would go a long way on providing fertilizer to neighbouring Kogi, Delta, Ondo and Anambra state.
The BUA Cement Factory has the capacity to provide thousands of direct jobs and indirect jobs, both for skilled and unskilled workers from the commencement of the construction of the plant to the smooth-running of the operation processes. With the investment volume of $600 million, the factory is expected to take production capacity to six million metric tonnes per annum. One unique thing about the BUA Cement Factory is that it is a wholly Nigerian-owned enterprise, as the planning, execution and successful establishment of the industrial complex were done by a Nigerian team. Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during the commissioning of the factory described the plant “as a big boost to the Nigerian economy. It will provide thousands of direct jobs and indirect jobs, both for skilled and unskilled workers, from the commencement of the construction of the plant to the smooth-running of the operation processes.”
Kaduna state has also benefitted immensely from the industrialization efforts of the Buhari APC-led administration. Notable among them are the Kaduna Olam Feed Mill and Farm and the Kaduna Sunseed Animal Feed Mill. The Kaduna Olam Feed Mill and Farm which was commissioned on September 12, 2017, is the largest integrated animal feed mills in the country, breeding farms and hatchery, occupying 925 hectares of land. Olam estimates that its investment will enhance domestic poultry production by approximately 8 billion eggs and 100 million kilogrammes of poultry meat. With the investment volume of $150m, it has the capacity to employ 10,000 direct and indirect labour and 2,000 veterinary doctors. Similarly, the company, as a result of the establishment of the two projects, will be training up to 10,000 farmers a year in best poultry farming practices. Given that around 75 per cent of poultry farming is managed by smallholders, Olam’s poultry initiatives have the potential to indirectly create 150,000 to 200,000 rural jobs for Nigerians as the entire sector is stimulated.
In Osun State, the Ede Cocoa Industry is set to place Nigeria on the path of cocoa revolution. With the capacity to produce 100 direct jobs, the industry is expected to produce 200,000 metric tons of Cocoa per day. The state of Osun owns 30 per cent equity which gives it 30 per cent revenue derivable from all resources and funds generated therefrom. The partnership will avail the people of Osun knowledge on cocoa processing.
While the above mentioned projects are already changing the fortunes of many Nigerians and re-positioning the country for a greater future, so many projects are in the offing and are at different levels. In Niger state, a Memorandum of Understanding between Dangote and the Niger state Government, for the establishment of state-of-the–art and fully integrated sugar complex has been signed. With the investment value of $450m, Niger State is on its way towards becoming an El-Dorado of some sorts, as the Niger Sugar will certainly put smiles on the faces of many youths, as the project is expected generate over 15,000 jobs in the state and bring about a complete economic turn-around for the state, on completion.
Similarly, in Nasarawa state, Nigeria’s dream of becoming self-sufficient in sugar production is soon to be realized, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between Dangote Sugar Group, and the Nasarawa state Government, in an epoch-making venture for a $700m sugar project that is unprecedented in the history of the country. It comprises of 60,000ha sugar plantation and two sugar factories with capacity to produce 430,000tpa of refined white sugar representing about 30 per cent of the country’s consumption and would be the largest plant in Nigeria. The sugar project would also provide 30,000 jobs for teaming youths in Nasarawa state. Accordingly, the Phase II of the project, when extended to cover 100,000ha will make the sugar plant, the largest in Africa.
Other efforts worthy of mention include the Lagos Refinery, Oyo Rice, Milk, Kebbi Soya Beans, Kogi Farm, Nasarawa Rice, Katsina Kankia Metal Works, among others. While these industrial investments are spread across states and regions, one common denominator among them is that they all lead to employment generation, youth empowerment, poverty alleviation and above all, position the country for a radical industrial revival. They are all initiatives of APC-led governments based on the inspiring leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. This new trend of strong industrial initiatives driven by APC-led governments at Federal and States between 2015 and today, remarkably departs from de-industrialization conundrum of 1999 – 2015 under the PDP. These are indisputable facts that speak very loud and clear!
Nathan is an Abuja-based media and communication expert.