One of the starkest reminders of the misgovernance of the nation by past leaders was the seemingly deliberate effort to stifle the industrial sector that was expected to tackle unemployment.
As many analysts now agree, Nigerians’preference for imported goods has also weakened the few existing industries, making some of them exit the nation’s landscape for other West African countries.
One of the most stringent criticisms against Nigeria’s industrial policy is its inability to reform the sector and provide succour to the existing and dying industries. Hence, the ugly state of industrial estates created in the 70s to take care of rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and commercialisation in the country.
The industrial sector in Nigeria (comprising manufacturing, mining, and utilities) accounts for a tiny proportion of economic activities (six per cent) while the manufacturing sector contributed only four per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2011. This is despite policy efforts, over the last 50 years, and, in particular, more recently, that have attempted to facilitate industrialisation.
But available data from the Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2017 revealed that national industrial utilisation is approximately 40 per cent, while in 2018, according to a real estate report by Ubosi Eleh and Company, many warehousing facilities were thrown into the market for outright disposal, few takers as firms and owners continue to seek creative ways to remain in business.
The development of new warehousing either as an investment or for additional storage space still remains limited. The major industrial areas in Ikeja, Oregun, Illupeju, Apapa, Amuwo-Odofin in Lagos, Idu in Abuja, Trans Amadi in Port Harcourt and Bompai in Kano have witnessed low warehousing activities as many of them have been converted to other commercial uses or completely abandoned. In the northern parts of the country particularly Kaduna, the demand for warehousing is virtually non-existent.
For instance, the headquarters of the Dunlop Nigeria Plc, once a beehive of business activities, has become a ghost of their old selves. The case of Dunlop property is a definition of the new role the Lagos industrial community has been given.
The same goes for Iganmu, another ancient industrial layout. Apart from the portion controlled by the Nigerian Breweries Plc, the area has lost its past glory.