The Bank of Industry (BoI) says it is set to revive relevant machine-fabricating plants across the country to support the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
The Acting Managing Director of the bank, Mr Waheed Olagunju, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
Olagunju told NAN that the BoI had visited some of the major machine- fabricating plants across the country, including that in Iwo, Osun, which had been in existence for about 100 years.
According to him, the BoI has urged the fabricators, as a matter of priority, to access funds for expansion, under the Non-Food Agro-Processing Group.
“Machine fabricators are a great part of the future industrialisation and economic diversification of the nation and they deserve all the support they can get.
“We realised that there is a big gap in this sub-sector because most machines are being imported and this weighs a lot on the purses of manufacturers and industrialists.
“There is a need for backward integration in that sector, because if we do, we would be doing ourselves a lot of good.
“The machines built here would be cheaper and readily available, while more jobs would be provided in the fabrication value chain, ‘’ he said.
Dr Shakirudeen Ajani, Head, Packaging Technology Division, Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, (FIIRO), also said that the high cost of processing machines was one of the major challenges of the non-oil sector.
Ajani said that after series of trainings by FIIRO, most entrepreneurs, such as aspiring food processors and manufacturers, were unable to afford the right machines to process and package their products.
He said that at the initial stage, most manufacturers resorted to locally-made machines but most of them were unable to produce to specifications.
“They are equally as expensive as the imported ones or the fabricators are not able to design the right machine needed by the manufacturers,’’ NAN quotes Ajani as saying.
He said that the institute would keep on advocating for more industrial clusters to help small and medium scale manufacturers share and utilise available resources.
“We (FIIRO) also plead that the government lend a hand of support to our local fabricators,’’ Ajani said.