Stakeholders from both the public and private sectors have suggested ways to achieve industrialisation as a way of meeting up with the Sustainable Development Goals.
They made their submissions during a roundtable/conversation organised by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria through hybrid of both zoom and physical platforms. It was still part of the programmes on the celebration of MAN’s 50th anniversary.
Tagged, ‘High level conversation on Industrialisation and Sustainable Development Goals’ with the theme: Industrialisation: A pathway to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.’
Leading group of discussants at the event, the Deputy General Secretary, United Nations, Ms. Amina Mohammed, commended MAN for its efforts in job creation through advocacy and result-oriented services it provides to its members who drive manufacturing in Nigeria.
Ms. Mohammed who connected to the event through the zoom, however noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had derailed progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
She said millions have been pushed back into poverty, while others have lost their jobs globally due to the devastating effects of the virus on production.
Giving specific statistics, Ms Mohammed said, “In 2020, 124,000,000 people were pushed back into poverty and some 225,000,000 jobs were lost worldwide.”
She said sustainable recovery must be guided by the SDGs, stating that the UN “stands ready to support Nigeria in harnessing industry and making progress towards the goals.”
Ms. Mohammed explained that the UN Secretary General had evolved what is known UN Global Compact, which aimed at promoting sustainable business, and it has local network in Nigeria, and will grow in coming years to assist businesses.
She said, “As part of Global Compact’s new Africa strategy, a hub will be established in Abuja to support business across the continent in our joint effort to achieve SDGs.
“I encourage MAN to engage with the Global Compact in the context of this new Africa strategy so business can effectively help move the needle of a sustainable recovery for Nigeria and the continent.”
She also encouraged manufacturers to exploit benefits offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, by improving quality of their goods.
In his contribution, Ambassador Jean Bakole, Regional Director, Nigeria Regional Office Hub and UNIDO Representative to ECOWAS; called on governments to provide small and medium enterprises with funds, and given access o affordable energy.
He noted that many industries had collapsed due to lack of access to affordable energy for production.
He said, “There is a need for a massive investment. We need to open our borders and reach out to our African brothers. Again, we can’t move forward without innovation, I mean the use of technology.”
Also, a representative from the office of SDGs, noted that there was a need to partner the private sector in order to achieve the SDGs.
He said the office was already working with some states in achieving the SDGs, urging other states that are yet to come on board to integrate the goals into their programmes.
The Director-General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, in his contribution at the event held in Lagos, stated that the assault on the environment by industries through their indiscriminate waste disposal should be checked.
He noted that Nigeria is one of the five top countries suffering deforestation around the world,with its waters also badly managed and its soil degraded.
While he said the climate change has its challenges and equally provided opportunities for those who could see them.
The Director-General, MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir said the conversation/roundtable “is a veritable platform for stakeholders from the public and private sector in the country to reconsider industrialisation in Nigeria, review the progress made thus far, identify where the continent missed it and suggest drivers for recovery.
He added that “it is also to appraise the current state of SDGs implementation in Nigeria with a view to identifying prevailing challenges, weaknesses and strengths” among others