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Nigeria has a Strong Ambition to Industrialise

It has relied heavily on the restriction of imports of certain goods targeted for domestic production. But for Nigeria’s industrialisation drive to succeed, it needs a broader array of industrial policy tools than simply import restrictions. These tools should include addressing binding constraints in different sectors to raise productivity. And addressing the flaws in the design and implementation of industrial policies. A further complicating factor is regional integration, specifically Nigeria’s approach to it, and a lack of capacity both in Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States to manage illegal cross-border trade. Nigeria’s industrial policies have focused on self-sufficiency. But other research shows that top-down policies often lack the necessary groundwork and consultation with implementing agencies to determine their feasibility. A similar pattern can be seen in the pharmaceutical sector. Firms have received support, mainly through import restrictions. But here too not enough has been done to overcome other binding constraints. These include poor infrastructure, a lack of access to finance and a restrictive regulatory environment.