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FG repositions economic policy to diversify economy – Minister



FG pledges increased support to ensure sufficiency in sugar production

Otunba Richard Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, says the Federal Government is repositioning its economic policy to diversify the economy.

This, the Minister explained, is geared towards agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing.

Adebayo was speaking on Thursday in Abuja at the 2021 National Rubber Conference with the theme: “Industrialization of the Rubber Sub-sector in Nigeria.”

Our correspondent reports that the conference was organized by the National Rubber Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NARPPMAN), in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and that of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Other collaborators are: The Raw Materials Research and Development Council as well as the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, among other critical stakeholders.

Adebayo, represented by Alhaji Muhammad Bala, Deputy Director, Industrial Development, said: “The rubber industry is related to the automotive industry in terms of production of tyres and other products needed in the vehicle manufacturing and assembling.

“In this regard, the ministry is currently reviewing the National Automotive Industry Development Plan, in conjunction with the National Automotive Design and Development Council.”

“We are also articulating more policies and programmes that would transform Nigeria into a modern industrialized nation.”

“This is also to make the rubber sub-sector as a major contributor to the nation’s GDP through the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.”

The Minister of State, Science, Technology and Innovation, Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi, also said that the importance of the rubber value chain in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized.

”The establishment of modern rubber processing industries is also very crucial.”

“Efforts to revamp the rubber industry are also being vigorously pursued by the ministry.”

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Afolabi, said the federal government would continue to provide an enabling environment to move the Rubber industry forward.

Represented by Alhaji Mohammed Usman, Assistant Director, Tree Crop Division, Afolabi promised: “We will not relent in supporting our farmers with necessary inputs and building their capacities in good agricultural practices.”

The National President of the Association, Otunba Igbinosun Peter, lamented that 95 per cent of available rubber plantations in Nigeria are over 40 years old.

“Apart from this, they are also being abandoned, with trees being felled and used as firewood or furniture.”

“Consequently, Nigeria has been losing attendant huge employment and income to other countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and India, who are currently generating over 400 million employments and the annual income of US$160 billion.”

“Nigeria is in a period in its economic life where its major focus on crude oil is failing to sustain the economy.”

Also speaking, the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Nigeria, Kalilou Traore, stated that his country is ready to engage in any dialogue or discussions with Nigeria, to strengthen cooperation between the two countries on the rubber industry.

Bashir Rabe Mani

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