|President Goodluck Jonathan|
Monday, 26 January 2015
FG Moves to Diversify Economy with Ward Cluster Technology.
As part of efforts to cushion the effects of dwindling oil prices on Nigerian economy, the federal government has embarked on diversification of the economy using the Ward Based Cluster Technology Programmes (WBCTP) across the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
President Goodluck Jonathan, who disclosed this said government was aware that the promotion of raw materials based clusters, which is one of the core programmes of the Raw Materials Development Research Council (RMDRC), is aimed at ensuring the emergence of at least one raw materials based cluster in each of the 774 LGAs.
He said: "Based on the vision of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the cluster programme has been expanded to the ward level. It is on this premise that my administration approved the adoption of the cluster as a national strategy to drive the transformation agenda."
The President who was represented by the Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Abdu Bulama, said government had concluded all necessary arrangements to commission its WCBTP across the federation before the end of first of quarter.
He said his administration's decision to create the N220 billion MSMEs fund was designed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to address these challenges.
He said: "I am particularly pleased with the theme of the Summit: Raw Materials Based Cluster Technology as an imperative for Nigeria’s sustainable industrial development and economic growth which couldn’t be better captured especially at this period when oil dependent economies are grappling with the fall of global oil prices.
"Nigeria must therefore not be left behind in the quest for the diversification of her revenue base. We are both aware that in both industrialized and developing countries, there are increasing evidences that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) can boost competitiveness through networking.
In order to ensure an even spread and grass roots inclusive approach in national development, the deployment of the WCBTP, at the ward level is imperative, he said.
He said: "The Ministry is working towards deploying plaintain, fish, oil palm, cassava, okra grain processing technologies among others to the pilot sites. Plans have reached advanced stage to complete and commission some of these pilots sites within the first quarter of 2015."
The development of the cluster programme, he said is one of the core programs of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) aimed at ensuring that at least one raw material based cluster is established in each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the country.
According to him, there is increasing awareness on the need for cooperation, collaboration, synergy, joint and mutual support among industries, government and academia, adding that this can be facilitated by practical and effective cluster initiative.
Jonathan said policy makers and development economists are zeroing on cluster as a strategy to grow national economy through innovation and creativity, adding that skills acquisition centre would be built in each state of the federation to house the technologies developed and ensure the sustainability of the skilled manpower for the programme.