BY CHIBUZOR EMEJOR.
Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, has called on multinationals to increase backward integration in their production chain to reduce imports and to provide more employment opportunities to Nigerians.
He said this in Abuja on Wednesday while receiving a delegation from Guinness Nigeria led by its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Baker Magunda, who thanked the Ministry for its support to the company and others in the sector; and also briefed the minister about its operations, including recent innovations.
Magunda said the company, which has been in the Nigerian market for 68 years and currently has two plants in Lagos and Benin, has been able to reduce its imports from 70 per to 30 per cent through local sourcing of materials.
“The industry is a low-margin industry where some materials are cheaper to import, but efforts are currently ongoing to source more materials locally,” he said, adding that the company has started a cassava farm in Edo state and it is trying to involve many more farmers in cassava production.
“It has also commenced discussions with manufacturers on the production of trucks for the transportation of inputs and products.
Welcoming the delegation, Dr. Enelamah expressed the Ministry’s appreciation for the efforts of the company on backward integration and local sourcing of materials.
He stressed that one of the most important things to the government now is job creation and believes industrial growth should be encouraged through ease of doing business and active partnerships.
“Government has an important role to play and that is creating an enabling business environment for industries to thrive,” he said.
He explained that the Federal Government is keen on sectorial policies that will further develop the grain and cassava sectors, and would like such policies to be shared.
He also expressed the readiness of his ministry to partner with Guinness in sectorial development, job creation, as well as trucking under government’s automotive policy.