By Henry Uche
The technology, agric, finance, construction and other sectors of Nigeria’s economy were priority areas for German- Nigerian business forum during the week, as experts from both countries brainstorm on improvement.
At the forum in Lagos, the Delegation of German Industry & commerce in Nigeria, Kathanna Felgenhauer, said the office will keep promoting Innovation, food processing & Packaging and logistics between the two countries.
“We have dedicated competence for these sectors. Training and Promotion for economic progress are our targets for the next business year. The two biggest economies in Africa and Europe is coming to form a symbiotic economic relationshi,”
She implored the Nigeria government to roll out better policies to enable the two countries thrive business- wise, saying that its office is open for serious business discourse,” she added.
Speaking through Zoom, the minister of Works & Housing, Babatunde Fashola, recommended a minimum of one year Practical compulsory training for civil engineering students/graduate trainees to receive hands- on experience specifically in construction sites, and other persons (formally educated or not) involved in technical and vocational skills to be deployed in relevant sectors as a way of enhancing their skills before they undertake future projects.
Fashola who referred to the Ikoyi collapsed building, said it’s important for academic sector to utilize available funds, grants and other financial support to upgrade their facilities so that students might receive first hand Practical experience in their respective disciplines while in school and after school.
“We need to tweak our training programs for those in the construction industry. Civil engineering Students doing intern and others should be sent in construction sites not Construction companies, where they could have a real life Practical experience of their professions,”
In an address, the Special advisor to Lagos State governor on SDGs, Mrs lSolape Hammond, reiterated the governor’s commitment to make lagos Africa’s most preferred investment hub through sound Policies.
“We shall do our best to attract more ok Investors. Howbeit we welcome feasible and viable business ideas. We advocate and work towards acquisition of technical skills to transform our economy,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, the Acting Executive Secretary of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Mr Emeka Offor, represented by Director of Policy Advocacy of the Commission, Mr John Oseji, affirmed that NIPC has strategies and initiatives to attract investment into the identified national sectors of the economy to enable the country benefit from the immense opportunities offered by AfCFTA.
He also stated that the Commission has identified and is targeting 20 strategic countries to attract investment into the economy, noting that Germany is one of such strategic countries and urged the German investors to invest in Nigeria to take advantage of the large market and the access provided by the country to the ECOWAS sub-regional market.
In a unanimous voice, experts across disciplines decry skills gaps, dearth of opportunities and outdated knowledge, facilities and machines in most sectors especially the technical subsector of the economy.
These experts maintained that lack of in -depth knowledge of current trends in different sectors of the economy orchestrated by lack of training by corporate organisations has done colossal damage to life and property as it evident in the recent 21 Storey collapse building in Lagos.
They called for a holistic overhauling and discipline in every sectors for the purpose of weeding off quacks from every sector.