Industrial output does not yet account for a significant part of the gross domestic product. Manufacturing and public utilities, the fastest-growing activities, together in 1952-53 represented less than 1% of the whole. Using "industry," as we do in this report, to include the craft industries, timber sawing, cotton ginning, cereal and groundnut milling, palm oil extraction and similar factory operations whose precise contribution is not always calculable, aggregate industrial "value added" does not exceed 3% of the gross Nigerian product.
Present industries include a few fairly large- or medium-sized undertakings, mainly in the South, and a wide assortment of small factories or producing shops throughout the country. Other than those closely related to traditional native crafts, not many were operating 20 years ago; most have been started within the last 5 or 10.
Among the larger units are a veneer and plywood mill (one of the world's biggest), a modern cigarette factory, a steel drum fabricating plant, a brewery, three soap factories, four groundnut oil mills, three palm oil mills and 10 cotton gins, together with a number of bulk palm oil refining plants, sawmills, rubber mills, soft-drink bottling plants and a margarine factory. These and some others have been established with external (chiefly European) private capital. The greater part of these have been financed from the reinvested local profits of trading firms. Few new firms have invested in Nigeria in recent years.
Several factories of significant size have been started by Nigerian private investors, in some cases with the financial help of public development bodies or private trading firms. Among these are two textile mills, two singlet factories, a tire retreading plant and a ceramic factory.