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Reviving Nigeria’s Moribund Industries: Key To Economic Development

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_By Sammie Echi Agbo, Enugu_

A key major way to building a sustainable economic development, especially among the third world countries lies not only in siting and establishing industries, but in making concerted efforts by both government and private individuals in ensuring they are maintained for optimum productivity.

A good number of industries in the country, and Enugu State in particular, going by available statistics collapsed due to lack of adequate attention and maintenance.

The inability of successive governments towards reviving these industries for an enhanced economic viability and progression deteriorated their conditions.

Enugu State, just like other states of the federation, a considerable number of industries that otherwise would have provided a reliable sources of livelihoods to the teeming young people were left to die.

The resultant effect of this dearth of Industries without doubt led to increase in joblessness, restiveness and other social vices.

Scientific Equipment Development Institute is a National Institute with branches across the states of the federation including Enugu State.

The institute is primarily established to actively get involved in research, development and popularization of science research results with the intention of using the results and analysis gotten to foster equipment and materials used in schools, hospitals, manufacturing industries and the rest.

However, there’s an urgent call for the institute to step up to this mandate so as to meet up with certain contemporary responsibilities.

The government should help to ensure that the agency rise to the highest standard in the discharge of their duties by ensuring that more goods and services are exported rather than imported as this would reduce youths restiveness and contribute tremendously to economic growth and development of the country and Enugu State.

Also, Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) is a federal government establishment saddled with the responsibility of proper maintenance, improvement and safety conditions of the federal roads.

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The agency with its offices established in different states of the country to an extent has offered no or little assistance in carrying out its functions.

Most of our federal and state roads have become delapidated as a result of lackadaisical attitude of those in charge.

These are roads that ought to have been built with the best quality materials.

But when poorly done, it does not only expose users to danger and property lost, it would also increase economic losses.

The Anambra Vegetable Oil Processing, popularly known as AVOP, located at the present Nachi in Udi Local Government is another company that needed urgent intervention from the government.

The company (an inheritance from the defunct Old Anambra State) was formerly a household name in the Nigerian Market as far as quality oil is concerned.

Apart from meeting the consumption needs of the people, the company also provided employment opportunities for many unemployed youths.

The company could be revived once again by government or perhaps handed over to a more competent private firm to manage.

This, when done, could uplift many households out of poverty.

The Sunrise Flour Mill established by Enugu State Government in 1983 shares a similar fate with the Anambra Vegetable Oil Processing company.

Created primarily for the production of semolina, wheat and others, this company had been crippled and shutdown due to lack of proper attention and maintenance by the government, despite promises to revamp it.

This is a company that would have otherwise taken a substantial number of youths out of the streets.

As the aphorism says, “No farmer, No nation”, we can never make a headway in our quest for economic emancipation if we do not have strong, viable and active industries, and serious investment in agriculture.

The state and condition of the department of our ministries of Agriculture in the states needed to be overhauled for greater output.

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The government should make deliberate efforts in procuring and assisting the peasant and commercial farmers with farming equipment and machinery like tractor, seedlings, fertilizers and grants so as to boost the economy.

More efforts should be given towards providing and equipping the citizens who have acquired one agricultural trainings, or seminars, instead of leaving them with no support after wasting government’s money to train them.

For instance, the Ministry of Agriculture situated at Akwuke, Enugu South LG which is supposed to enhance and boost agricultural activities leveraging on governmental supports has been left to decay. Sizable portions of land within the premises which would have been used by the government for commercial farming have been left at the mercy of some small fractions of people that have used the place for other purposes.

The government should discourage this unhealthy act and probably lease the land to private individuals that can effectively use it for large scale farming which in turn would provide employment opportunities to our teeming unemployed youths.

Our construction sector is also not left out, it has suffered its own share of neglect and abandonment. Example, Aluminum Production company, located at Ohebe-dim in Igbo Etiti LGA of the state is another industry that has suffered the same fate with others.

The company, before now was a great source of employment for both skilled and unskilled labourers through the many services it rendered.

But alas, many of these people have today sent back home.

In situations where the government has enormous responsibilities and projects it can leverage on partnership from individuals and private organizations through the sell of shares, investments and other workable means from them so as to ensure that some of our industries in the state are performing optimally.

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A leaf should be borrowed from the Emenite Group of companies, an asbestos company located in the heart of Enugu.

This company is still at its peak of production, notwithstanding the decades of operations.

This initiative should be encouraged and emulated.

The ministry of Industry, trade and commerce charged with the responsibility of harmonising all the aforementioned sectors should speed up its operations by ensuring that all the directives, policies and programs of the government tilted towards increasing economic growth is timely implemented and executed.

Not only would this help to Foster relative peace in the economic sector, but would open doors for more job opportunities for the members of the state and also cause existing ones to flourish.

The likes of Nigergas Company Ltd, Premier Cashew Industries Ltd, Oghe, Nigersteel Industries Ltd,Emene, Livestock Feedmill, Ngwo and a whole lots of other Industries in the state need to be revamped so as to meet the ever-rising needs and provide sustainable opportunities for the citizens of the state.

There’s no argument from available scheme of things that the present administration and government of the day, led by Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has done and is still doing tremendously well in reviving and restoring some of these moribund Industries and accelerating the productivity of performing ones.

However, there’s a clarion call on the incoming government to take the matter of industrialization seriously and also consolidate on the very many strides taken by the present administration in that effect.

It’s only when matters of industralization is given priority attention that we can strongly stand to push out joblessness, restiveness and other social vices plaguing the society out of sight.

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