·Urges Nigeria to create standards and enforce them
By Ignatius Chukwu
Nigeria must rise up and fight dumping to save its economy and prevent mass crisis that comes from continued loss of jobs for youths.
The warning came from an Italy-born naturalized Nigerian with 45 years in electrical and electronic engineering professions , Giandomenico Massari.
Massari heads a reputable manufacturing firm as well as a technical services company.
Massari, now the National Vice President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), also said Nigeria has everything it needs to be become the new China and thus a global manufacturing hub.
Massari, a fellow of both the electrical and electronic engineering professions with a doctorate degree in view, said manufacturing is the backbone of any serious economy.
In an interview with newsmen in his Trans-Amadi, Port Harcourt headquarters, the engineer argued that any developed country you admire has manufacturing as the backbone of the economy. “This is supposed to be so with Nigeria that has all sorts of resources, from agricultural resources to minerals.”
Massari warned about the danger of ignoring dumping. “Nigeria should not be allowed to become a dumping ground. This is the easiest way to destroy any economy and to kill jobs.’
He said few persons gain in a dumped economy but majority suffers; loss of jobs, forex crisis, inflation, crime and instability. “Nigeria has been inundated with sub-standard products that do not add value to the economy.
“We need an economy that produces almost everything that is imported and in high quality. Nigeria already has high quality in some products, it means Nigeria can produce high quality in almost every product.’
He said Nigeria should target being an exporting country and should target how to replicate what is happening in China because Nigeria has all the potentials especially on labour and other resources.
To do this, he stated, “All stakeholders must work for same goal. It is not good for private interests to sabotage this path and divert the gains. This is where change must be targeted, creating public interest instead of private interest.
“There is need to sanitise things and boost manufacturing in Nigeria. This is not happening at the moment.”
He went on to declare that Nigerian can even become a global hub of manufacturing; a place investors can manufacture anything at cheap cost to create competitive products for both export and for the local market. “This will bring benefits to the country not only by creating jobs but by creating values and foreign exchange (forex) that would be pouring into the country. By this, you are enriching the economy and the people. There should be an advocacy in this and all should rally round MAN as a major backbone for the economy.”
He said it is to push for Nigeria to be a manufacturing hub that he joined MAN since 1997; “My reason to participate in the affairs of MAN is to boost the body that caters for manufacturers and to support it to boost manufacturing.
“The objective is to strive to manufacture high quality products and be also to make sure that all the systems involved in manufacturing are protected and developed.’
He said MAN is the umbrella body of all manufacturers and is the foremost body for manufacturing sector. “We thus chose to join MAN as the best way to carry out that role, not only for our company but for the benefits of manufacturing in Nigeria because when the benefits spread around Nigeria, it will touch everybody.”
Massari said he participated fully in the Rivers/Bayelsa chapter, and also in the Council for many years. In 2011, he was nominated and elected into MAN’s national Council, he stated.
In 2017, he went on, he was nominated and elected as the acting chairman of the Akwa Ibom/Cross River chapter and eventually converted to chairman.
On what he plans to pursue as National Vice President of MAN (East: Rivers/Bayelsa chapter, Akwa Ibom/Cross River chapter, Imo/Abia chapter, and Anambra/Enugu/Ebonyi chapter), Massari: “My duty is to carry all the chairmen along. They are the voice of their chapters. Together, we start pushing to the headquarters that will push to the FG and to every relevant body that has a duty to play in boosting manufacturing.”
He mentioned building a database as one major task before him. He said data is everything in the world of business and planning today. “My first task is to build a database of members; what they do, what they can produce, the certifications they have, etc. I have made it clear that this is what I want to start with. This is what investors want to look at to know what to support or where to invest or who to partner with. It is a lot of job to accomplish but let us start first.”
With knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm flowing from him, many may wonder what would happen if state governments can think manufacturing/industrialization and make it their cardinal targets; whether the zone would become the propelling zones for this industrial revolution. To get this off the steam, whether Masari would be prepared to organize an industry clinic for either the present or incoming governors and hoping they would embrace the opportunity to work with the masters and imbibe Massari’s gripping message.
The Italy-born technologist is ready. “I said it is about stakeholdership to build a rallying point for change. When I was chairman in Akwa Ibom/Cross River chapter, we tried to network with the governments, sometimes successfully.
“We continue to try to make governments make friendly policies for manufacturing and for operations. It could be about patronizing local products.’
He said one governor sometime ago was instrumental in boosting manufacturing in Anambra State “(I do not want to mention names). His administration started assisting industries there by providing infrastructure, buying their products, providing single digit loans that were later repaid, did Ease of Doing Business (EODB) policies, etc. Manufacturing increased exponentially. This was about understanding the potentials of manufacturing because of the value it brings; jobs, taxes, wealth, reduction of crime, etc. We need to see a leader in Government that can see this and think this way.
“Yes, I plan to take my team of state chairmen of MAN to visit the state governments to stress these points and to seek partnerships and make sure that the benefits from such situations are understood.
“If the state governors understand the criticality of manufacturing and what they should do to cause it happen, they would be the enthusiastic drivers. Everybody will be the winner. That is the only way, otherwise problems.”