President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has said the National Assembly will partner the Nigerian Society of Engineers to come up with favourable legislations that will accelerate the manufacturing sector.
Akpabio said this when he spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the 2023 National Engineering Conference on “Exhibition and Annual General Meeting” on Tuesday in Abuja.
The theme of the conference was “Re-engineering the Manufacturing Sector for Competitiveness and Enhanced Economic Growth.”
According to him, Infrastructure Development is the backbone of any successful manufacturing industry but it needs good and favourable legislation and policies to accelerate it.
Akpabio who was represented at the ceremony by Mr Ike Ugwuegede, said, “The 10th National Assembly would want the NSE to work with the relevant House and Senate Committees to, among other things, accelerate the reengineering of the manufacturing sector of our country.
“We need to streamline democratic processes to reduce redtapism and provide incentives for local production and entrepreneurship.
“Additionally, we should promote sustainable practices, encourage local content development and protect intellectual property rights by implementing favorable policies.”
He said adequate transportation networks, reliable power supply, efficient logistical systems are essential for smooth manufacturing operations.
“By investing in infrastructure, we can increase supply chain management and attract foreign direct investment.
“While the President says reforms are crucial to creating an enabling environment for the manufacturing sector, we at the national assembly will toe this road with him.
“Our hope is in our engineers to make us run our technological race faster on the global highways of technology.” Akpabio said.
On his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abass, said the theme of the conference aligned with the national goal in emphasising the vital role of engineering in shaping the nation’s future anchoring on sustainable economic growth.
He was represented by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Benjamin Kalu.
Abass said intersection of engineering and governance was significant in the pursuit of sustainable growth and development.
He said, “Federal Government’s integrated infrastructure master plan, launched in 2020, envisions an investment of US$2.3 trillion over the next 23 years to bridge Nigerian infrastructure deficit.
“This ambitious undertaking underscores the critical role of engineering in addressing the national needs in infrastructure and laying the foundation for our economic prosperity.
“However, the success of this grand plan hinges on the convergence of engineering expertise with effective governance as infrastructural development is not only about building roads and constructing bridges.
“It is about a holistic ecosystem that fosters economic productivity, enhances social well-being and promotes environmental sustainability.”
Abass said achieving this synergy required a governance framework that is conducive to innovation, and collaboration, adding that accountability and the legislature are for the laws facilitating these.
The President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Mr Tasiu Gidari-Wudil, in his remarks, said the theme of the conference was informed by the continuing decline of activities in the manufacturing sector.
He said, “The sad trajectory of Nigeria is the gigantic Ajaokuta Steel Manufacturing Company on which manufacturing activities revolved. But it has never rolled out one length of steel since it was built.
“Recognizing that transforming the manufacturing sector is critical for driving economic growth, stimulating innovation and providing the roadmap for developing a skilled workforce, the NSE went into alliance with UNIDO and the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, to see what could be done.”
Gidari-Wudil was optimistic that by the end of the conference, productive decisions would be made on how the Ajaokuta Steel Manufacturing Company in particular would be revived and the whole manufacturing sector in general rekindled for performance.
President Bola Tinubu was represented at the conference by the Vice-president, Kashim Shettima.
Captains of Industries, stakeholders and engineers from all sectors of the economy also attended.