Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
The Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) has identified three strands of learning enablers in Nigeria.
The three strands are export financing, knowledge of international political economy (IPE) features, Standards, Regulations, and Inspection (SRI) regimes as factors influencing entry into international markets by firms in Nigeria’s industrial sector.
This was disclosed at the institute’s research seminar series, which was held yesterday in Ibadan.
The findings are from the second phase of a study carried out by the institute, which investigated “learning to compete” in Nigeria.
The study, which was presented by Dr. Foluso Adeyinka revealed that firms that are innovative and with previous high productivity “learn to export” and they self-select to enter the export market.
They remain in the export market due to their ability to absorb additional costs associated with exports. Firms that “learn by exporting” can improve their current productivity and also remain in the export market, as they become exposed to new technologies and international best practices.
The study, however, noted that the starting point for learning to compete in the export market is the ability and capacity to produce a sufficiently high threshold of quality products and services that meet local and international standards.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Director-General of NISER, Professor Antonia Simbine, set the tone for the discourse by asserting that “in a rapidly evolving global landscape, the industrial sector represents the cornerstone upon which sustainable progress is built, given the sector’s high potentials for employment, innovation, and for contributing to a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
Simbine affirmed that unlocking the full potential of the nation’s industrial sector required a multifaceted approach and concerted efforts from policymakers, industry leaders, researchers, educators, and the broader society.
She further stated that it required the identification and nurturing of the learning enablers that foster innovation, adaptability, and competitiveness.
She added that the absence or ineffectiveness of the learning enablers identified in the NISER study would hinder industrial development.
The Chairman of the event, Mr. Duro Kuteyi, re-echoed the significance of the industrial sector to development but pointed out the challenges besetting the sector and submitted that “Nigerian industries are facing difficult times, fueled by internal hardships and a lack of global competitiveness.”
He added that “conducive environment is needed, much more than enabling laws, physical infrastructure and tax relief. It has more to do with the quality of inputs in terms of social and financial infrastructure.”
The presenter concludes that some measures need to be put in place to engender the role of learning enablers and propel the Nigerian industrial sector towards competitiveness.
These measures include improved firm level investment in learning capabilities, expanded access for export subsidy and financing, strengthened international trade policies which prioritise national interests and simplified export regulatory processes.